Pittsburgh Steelers: 6 Players Firmly on the Roster Bubble
Training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn’t start for about a month as we inch closer and closer to the 2013 regular season.
Though you can pretty much predict most of the roster, there are going to be great position battles once training camp starts.
Here are six players currently sitting on the roster bubble for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chris Carter OLB
Chris Carter was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft and has been mostly a special teams player in his two-year career.
Carter did get more playing time on defense at the beginning of the 2012 season because of injuries to James Harrison and Jason Worilds but didn’t do much with that opportunity.
Adrian Robinson is Carter’s biggest competition at this point and showed some pass-rushing potential last year in the Preseason. Carter has the edge because of his ability to play special teams but the Steelers didn’t keep Robinson on the roster all last year for nothing. I see them giving him every opportunity to win a roster spot in 2013.
The Steelers could decide to keep Carter as an extra linebacker anyway, but right now I see him as needing to have a strong camp to make the roster.
Jonathan Dwyer RB
I have been one of Jonathan Dwyer’s biggest supporters since the team drafted him in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. I didn’t think he did a bad job as the starting running back in 2012 and thought there was a chance the Steelers wouldn’t address the position early in the draft.
Well, the Steelers drafted Le’Veon Bell in the second round of the 2013 draft, and if he picks up the offense, he should be the starter.
Though he should start camp as the starter, Dwyer will have to show up in shape and prove he has the offense completely down. With Isaac Redman being a big back and Baron Batch and LaRod Stephens-Howling being more change of pace, Dwyer could become expendable.
Personally, I would keep Dwyer if I were the Steelers because he is still young, but I would understand that they could decide to trade him if a team shows interest.
Alameda Ta'amu NT
I really could have put both Ta’amu and Hebron Fangupo here as both will have to prove they can be trusted as the top backup to Steve McLendon.
Ta’amu was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2012 draft and never made an appearance as a rookie. Al Woods got a lot of reps as the backup nose during OTAs according to Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, ahead of both Ta’amu and Fangupo.
There is always a chance that the Steelers bring back Casey Hampton also, which would definitely put one of the young nose tackles on the outside looking in.
Ta’amu is going to have to show he has developed enough to keep a roster spot over Fangupo and prevent a stay on the practice squad.
Curtis Brown CB
Honestly, I don’t really see Curtis Brown, a third-round pick in 2011, being cut this offseason, though I wouldn’t definitely rule it out.
The Steelers’ top three cornerbacks are set on the depth chart with Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen and William Gay. Behind those three, however, there are a ton of questions marks and it starts with Brown.
Brown has developed a little slower than most fans would have liked and the team has never been afraid to cut ties with any player regardless of where he was drafted.
The cornerback position should be one of the more heated position battles in camp with Brown, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Josh Victorian, Isaiah Green and Terry Hawthorne all fighting for roster spots.
At most I would see the team keeping five corners on the roster. At this point I’d give the edge to Brown and Hawthorne. That is just an early prediction, though, and all five of those players will be given a shot to be the depth for the team at the position.
Guy Whimper OT
The Steelers signed Guy Whimper this offseason to give some veteran tackle depth on the roster with the departure of Max Starks.
Whimper also may have had his stock rise with the injury to Mike Adams because of that lack of depth on the offensive line. With that being said, I still don’t see Whimper as being a lock for the roster, and he could be beat out by Joe Long.
Kelvin Beachum would be the top backup at every position on the offensive line with everyone else competing to add depth.
Besides Whimper, the main guys competing in camp will be Long, Mike Farrell, John Malecki, Mike Golic Jr., and Joe Madsen.
Plaxico Burress WR
Plaxico Burress has one thing on almost every other receiver on the roster and that is his size. Burress is listed as 6’5” and the only other receiver listed at that height is Derek Moye.
That height has made Burress a great red-zone threat in his career. If he makes the roster, he could become that again for the Steelers.
The only problem with that is the fact that Burress is 35 years old and would be the fifth receiver at best for the team. Normally, the fifth receiver would be contributing something on special teams and at his age, Burress will definitely not be doing that.
Burress’ status will be based mostly on the development of the young receivers on the roster in Justin Brown, Reggie Dunn, J.D. Woods, and David Gilreath. If no one else steps up, then I would say Burress has a great shot at making the roster.
Information from ESPN.com.