Projecting the Steelers’ 53-Man Roster and Other Goodies (V 1.0)

This initial projection assumes that the Steelers do not sign any other free agents and do not lose any players to season-ending injuries. Obviously the projected 53-man roster could change if key players were lost for significant time.

Moreover, the outcomes of many of the key roster battles, such as No. 3 QB, No. 3-4 RB, No. 6 WR, No. 2 TE and No. 4-6 CB, will largely be determined by performances in training camp and in actual preseason games. Thus, this list – particularly the practice squad projections – will likely be altered in the coming weeks. However, with so many veteran reserves returning, the Steelers’ 53-man roster is probably more set than any team in the NFL at this point.

53-Man, Opening-Day Roster
** = Roster Lock (95% or better barring major injury or arrest)
* = Roster Near Lock (75-94% barring major injury or arrest)
No stars = Clinging to the 53-man roster at this point

QB Ben Roethlisber **
QB Byron Leftwich *
QB Charlie Batch
RB Reshard Mendenhall **
RB Isaac Redman **
RB Baron Batch
RB Mewelde Moore
TE Heath Miller **
TE/FB D.J. Johnson **
TE John Gilmore *
WR Mike Wallace **
WR Hines Ward **
WR Emmanuel Sanders **
WR Antonio Brown **
WR Arnaz Battle *
WR Limas Sweed
LT Jonathan Scott **
LG Chris Kemoeatu **
C Maurkice Pouncey **
RG Ramon Foster **
RT Willie Colon**
C/G/FB Doug Legursky **
T Marcus Gilbert **
RT/G Chris Scott *
G Keith Williams

DE Aaron Smith **
NT Casey Hampton **
DE Brett Keisel **
DE Ziggy Hood **
NT Chris Hoke **
DE Cameron Hewayrd **
NT/DE Steve McLendon
OLB James Harrison **
OLB LaMarr Woodley **
OLB Jason Worilds **
OLB Chris Carter *
ILB James Farrior **
ILB Lawrence Timmons **
ILB Larry Foote *
ILB Stevenson Sylvester **
SS Troy Polamalu **
FS Ryan Clark **
S Ryan Mundy **
S Will Allen *
CB Ike Taylor **
CB Bryant McFadden *
CB William Gay *
CB Curtis Brown **
CB Crezdon Butler
CB Cortez Allen

K Shaun Suisham **
P Daniel Sepulveda *
SN Greg Warren *

Opening Game-Day Inactives (7): RB Baron Batch, WR Limas Sweed, OT Marcus Gilbert, OG Keith Williams, NT/DE Steve McLendon, CB Crezdon Butler, CB Cortez Allen

Last 12 Released From Camp (in order of how close they are to making team and their position matters): 1. QB Dennis Dixon, 2. CB Keenan Lewis, 3. RB Jonathan Dwyer, 4. WR Tyler Grisham, 5. OT Tony Hills, 6. P Jeremy Kapinos, 7. TE Weslye Saunders, 8. S Damon Cromartie-Smith, 9. LB Mario Harvey, 10. DE Sunny Harris, 11. RB John Clay, 12. NT Anthony Gray

Last 12 To Make the Team (in order of likelihood of being cut and their position matters): 1. NT/DE Steve McLendon, 2. QB Charlie Batch, 3. WR Limas Sweed, 4. RB Mewelde Moore, 5. CB Crezdon Butler, 6. RB Baron Batch, 7. CB Cortez Allen, 8. P Daniel Sepulveda, 9. OG Keith Williams, 10. TE John Gilmore, 11. ILB Larry Foote, 12. S Will Allen

Practice Squad (8): RB Jonathan Dwyer, WR Wes Lyons, TE Weslye Saunders, T Kyle Jolly, OL Either one of the four rookie free agents from Steelers’ training camp or someone released from another team, NT Anthony Gray, LB Mario Harvey, S Damon Cromartie-Smith

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  • Cols714

    Looks good to me. Only one I disagree with. I doubt Chris Carter makes the team.

    • ted

      Could be right. Surprised to see he looks so light per Wex who said he resembles more of a safety than a Steelers’ OLB. However, we don’t even need him to dress this year, let alone play OLB, and he seems in great shape to be the No. 4 OLB and No. 8 overall LB. He would have to be beat out by an undrafted free agent like Harvey or Ellis not to make the team, but that could happen. It is unlikely based on when players were drafted, but that’s why you go to camp and play preseason games.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I concluded almost the exact same as you. My only discrepancy is that I believe Keenan Lewis makes the roster and Cortez Allen sits on the practice squad. I also have Jonathan Dwyer making the practice squad over Clay, assuming he is eligible, which I believe he is.

    • ted

      CB will no doubt be interesting. There are glowing reports on Lewis which gave me great pause in putting him on the cut list. But we heard similar reports last fall, and then he was abysmal in a preseason game, and saw almost no PT during the year. When he did see PT on defense or STs, he generally made mistakes. If we thought he had a future, would we have drafted two CBs in the first four rounds and then resigned Gay in addition to the obvious resigning of Ike?

      Finally, Madison played more CB in one game last season than he had over his entire NFL regular-season career. And even after BMac was sidelined and the Steelers’ activated Lewis, LeBeau still elected to go with Madison (a special teams standout who was probably the least physically gifted CB on an NFL regular-season dress roster) over Lewis, meaning that the staff is not high on him at all.

      That said, I assume Lewis is better right now than Allen, who is a long-term project with little experience but possessing good size and speed. But like Thad Gibson last year or McBean in the past, another team could easily claim a fourth-round cut like Allen if we try to stowe him on practice squad. We knew Allen was a project when we drafted him, so I doubt he gets cut.

      I was wrong and will replace Clay with Dwyer (even though he is fat for the second training camp in a row) on my practice squad. I thought he was ineligible for the PS, because he spent all of last season on the Steelers’ 53-man roster. But he was actually only on the 45-man gameday roster for week No. 17. The rule says that players are ineligible if they are on the gameday roster for eight or more games, not the the 53-man roster. That is why Joe Burnett was ineligible for any team’s practice squad last year, because he dressed for 15 games as a rookie in 2009. But Dwyer would be eligible for any team’s practice squad this year. Thanks for making me look that up.

  • SteelerBill

    Eddie B believes that Tyler Grisham will make the team this year – and Wex says he has the softest hands on the team (catchability not due to lotion use)

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Ted, I like your approach of listing last out and last in, and your lists seem sensible to me.  I went through the roster a few days ago and came to about 49-50 of the same 53.  My guess was that Sweed and McClendon would not make the team.  And I assumed Lewis would.  And I assumed that a 10th OL will be signed.  I also assumed Saunders would make it, but that’s more hope (as it would mean he would step up in the next few weeks) than expectation.  As was the case last year, health seems likely to be a factor for Letfwich / Batch / Dixon, but if all three are healthy, I’d think they’d keep Leftwich and Dixon over Batch.

    Every NFL team will have issues with health or depth or age, but overall it is a good roster and the front office again deserves credit.  Hopefully a little help for the OL depth, especially at LT, will be found somewhere.

  • Randy Steele

    It’s hard not to think that the Limas Sweed Experience will soon be over. Finally.

  • Grw1960

    I can’t harly waite to see the 2nd year players in a preseason game. I wish Crezdon would get healthy. I would like to see how much improvement he shows this year.
     I hope it will be more than Lewis showed in his second year?