I for one am excited as ever that the preseason has started, particularly because my favorite baseball team is fighting once again to stay out of the cellar of the National League West. So with the preseason in full swing, I thought that it would be a great idea to do a weekly breakdown on how I believe that Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster will shake out by the time the 2013 regular season starts.
Here are my predictions for this week:
Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones
After John Parker Wilson did not play against Washington, I think that it’s safe to say that the Steelers are content with their top three signal-callers. I just hope that Big Ben can survive an entire season behind his offensive line.
Running Backs (4)
Le’Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling
If the rookie running back is not placed on the PUP list, then I could see Pittsburgh taking a gamble with Redman, Dwyer, and Stephens-Howling until Bell returns from his injury. They will rotate Redman and Dwyer and sprinkle in Stephens-Howling on third downs, and then just hope for the best with Bell in terms of his recovery.
Despite his rib injury, Johnson will be the team’s fullback this fall. The Steelers will need him to shine in the red zone as a pass-catcher with their lack of depth at tight end. Unless his rib injury proves to be serious, then there is no way that Johnson is left off of the roster.
Tight Ends (3)
Heath Miller, David Paulson, David Johnson
Although he might miss a number of games to start the season, the Steelers appear ready to carry Heath Miller on the 53-man roster. For now though, Pittsburgh will have David Paulson as their starting tight end and either David Johnson or Michael Palmer as his backup. Hello red zone woes!
Wide Receiver (6)
Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, Justin Brown, J.D. Woods
As it stands, Brown, Sanders, Wheaton, and Cotchery are roster “locks” due to how well they have played during the preseason. Behind them, I think that Pittsburgh’s coaching staff will try to carry a pass-catcher to balance out the depth chart and help in the red zone like Justin Brown or Derek Moye. I am listing J.D. Woods as a “wild-card,” and he could do wonders for himself if he can shine on special teams.
Offensive Linemen (8)
Mike Adams, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marucs Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki, Joe Long
As I mentioned last week, Pittsburgh’s starting five are set in stone and will hopefully improve over the coming weeks. Kelvin Beachum is a solid “jack-of-all trades” for the team to have at their disposal, but the depth behind him is an issue. John Malecki sticking on the 53-man roster makes sense, particularly because he can chip in at guard and center. Guy Whimper and D’Anthony Batiste are “swinging gates,” so the Steelers could take a chance on Joe Long for depth at tackle.