Originally written June 26, 2012 on Draft Board Insider:
With rookie camps in the books and all 32 NFL teams preparing for full blown training camps, it is time to take a look at the roster of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. What I am going to offer is not a prediction of the final 53 man roster like some have done, but my ideal 53 man roster I’d love to see including who I’d place on the practice squad. Quarterbacks(3) Ben Roethlisberger(Starter)
Charlie Batch
Byron Leftwich This is a pretty obvious depth chart. Troy Smith was released, but I still like rookie Jerrod Johnson to make the practice squad. Running Backs(4) Isaac Redman(starter)
Chris Rainey
Baron Batch
John Clay With Rashard Mendenhall likely to start the year on the PUP list, the Steelers have to hope this committee can get it done. Honestly I doubt Mendenhall plays this year at all, and maybe never again as a Steeler so this is an audition for all these backs. Wide Receivers(5) Mike Wallace(starter)
Antonio Brown(starter)
Emmanuel Sanders
Jerricho Cotchery
Marquis Maze This was a toss up between Maze and fellow rookie Tony Clemons, but I think while Clemons has a higher ceiling, Maze has impressed and has a better shot to make the roster now, and Clemons can start the year on the practice squad. Tight Ends(4) Heath Miller(starter)
David Johnson
Leonard Pope
David Paulson For Paulson, he’s going to have a 4 week tryout while Weslye Saunders sits out his 4 game suspension. The other 3 spots are locked in, with Johnson being more of a FB than TE in this offense. Offensive linemen(9) Marcus Gilbert(starter)
Willie Colon(starter)
Maurkice Pouncey(starter)
David DeCastro(starter)
Mike Adams(starter)
Ramon Foster
Trai Essex
Doug Legursky
Kelvin Beachum This scenario puts the most athletic team on the field. 2 rookies might need a little time, but that’s ok with me, because this unit has underwhelmed primarily because they’ve just not been talented enough to compete but adding Adams and DeCastro, and putting Colon inside at guards gets their best guys all on the field at once. Defensive Linemen(7) Ziggy Hood(starter)
Brett Keisel(starter)
Steve McLendon(starter)
Cameron Heyward
Corbin Bryant
Casey Hampton
Alemeda Taamu If Bryant doesn’t make the final roster, he’s likely on the practice squad making a spot for veteran Al Woods. I really like Woods versatility and I hope he can make the team, but I just think Bryant is a better bet, especially as I look at my practice squad and try and find a place for him. Linebackers(8) LaMarr Woodley(starter)
James Harrison(starter)
Lawrence Timmons(starter)
Stevenson Sylvester(starter)
Jason Worilds
Sean Spence
Adrian Robinson
Chris Carter This is once again about getting more athletic and younger. I’m not sure what Spence’s role will be initially other than special teams and on passing downs maybe as a hybrid LB/S but I really want to see what Chris Carter can do with an expanded role and what rookie Adrian Robinson can contribute. Cornerbacks(6) Ike Taylor(starter)
Keenan Lewis(starter)
Curtis Brown
Cortez Allen
Terry Carter
Terrence Fredrick I am giving the Steelers 6 corners, because you can simply never have enough depth here. Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen are 1-4 on the depth chart. 5 and 6 on my list are Terry Carter and Terrence Fredrick. This is a fascinating group of young corners and I hope they can make this unit a position of strength rather than weakness. Safetys(4) Troy Polamalu(starter)
Ryan Clark(starter)
Ryan Mundy
Da’Mon Cromrtie-Smith I’m sure more scenarios like this have Will Allen making the final 53 over Smith, but not me. This follows my trend of get younger and get more athletic. Polamalu and Clark offer plenty of veteran leadership, so give the young fella Smith a chance to learn on the fly. Specialists(3) Greg Warren(starter)
Jeremy Kapinos(starter)
Veteran free agent kicker Greg Warren will start at LS and Jeremy Kapinos will be the punter, but for the kicker put me down for a vet punter who’s not currently on the roster. I don’t care for Shaun Suisham or Grant Ressel at all, so give me what’s behind door number 3. Practice Squad(8) Jerrod Johnson, QB
Trevis Turner, OT
Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, DE
Brandon Lindsey, LB
Brandon Hicks, LB
Ryan Lee, OG
Will Johnson FB
Tony Clemons WR Nice mix of young talent that can sit and learn and develop. It was really hard for me to narrow the pool of young players down to just 8 for this list. Here’s my dream scenario for my Steelers. Now before anyone says anything, no I don’t predict this will happen. I’ve always favored a younger more athletic group, but I expect Tomlin to play it safe, adding in several of the veterans I cut loose.
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