Pittsburgh Steelers Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

Andrea HangstFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2013

Pittsburgh Steelers Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis

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    The NFL enters the fourth week of the preseason, which means the regular season rapidly approaches. However, teams need to make a few tweaks to their rosters until that happens.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have spent the summer with up to 90 players on their roster, but that number must decrease to 53 before the season begins. This means decisions, both difficult and less so, must be made in the coming days. 

    Here are the latest updates on the changes the Steelers have made to their roster and depth chart leading up to Week 1 of the regular season. 

53-Man Roster Cuts

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced their final 22 roster cuts to reduce their ranks to 53 men. The players released are as follows:

    • RB Jonathan Dwyer
    • NT Alameda Ta'Amu
    • CB Terry Hawthorne
    • WR Justin Brown
    • P Brian Moorman
    • CB Josh Victorian
    • LB Marshall McFadden
    • TE Jamie McCoy
    • WR Reggie Dunn
    • OL Mike Golic, Jr.
    • OL Joe Madsen
    • OL Chris Hubbard
    • DE Brian Arfelt
    • LB Alan Baxter
    • LB Terence Garvin
    • CB Devin Smith
    • WR Kashif Moore
    • RB Alvester Alexander
    • TE Nathan Overbay
    • OT Joe Long
    • LB Brian Rolle
    • S Ross Ventrone

    Steelers head of public relations, Burt Lauten, also announced the release of guard/center John Malecki. 

    The Steelers announced the release of punter Drew Butler and cornerback Isaiah Green on Monday.

    The Steelers also announced that tight end Heath Miller has been activated from the PUP list. 

    Among the cuts, Dwyer's was the most surprising. Though Isaac Redman has already been pegged as the starting running back until rookie Le'Veon Bell returns from his foot injury, it seemed like both Redman and Dwyer would share time with Redman being a starter in name only.

    Despite Dwyer leading the Steelers in rushing during the preseason and looking fitter and more explosive than in 2012, it appears the team prefers having La'Rod Stephens-Howling and Felix Jones as Redman's (and eventually, Bell's) backups this year. 

    Ta'Amu's release wasn't too shocking—his legal issues stemming from last year combined with him being outplayed by Hebron Fangupo and Al Woods in the preseason made him expendable though he was Pittsburgh's fourth-round draft pick just a year ago.

Previewing and Analyzing the Practice Squad

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced their eight-man practice squad to start the 2013 season. The players are as follows:

    • OL Chris Hubbard
    • OL Joe Long
    • RB Alvester Alexander
    • DE Brian Arnfelt
    • LB Alan Baxter
    • WR Kashif Moore
    • DB David Smith
    • WR Justin Brown

    These young players are certainly among those thought to be perfect prospects for Pittsburgh's practice squad. The only notable absences are linebacker Marshall McFadden and cornerback Devin Smith who was thought to have had a better shot at sticking around than David Smith. 

    With linebacker Terence Garvin promoted to the 53-man roster after tight end Matt Spaeth was placed on the injured reserve-recall list, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that wide receiver Kashif Moore will take Garvin's practice squad spot.

Final Depth Chart

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    Here is what the Steelers' depth chart should look like headed into the first week of the regular season:

     

    QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones

    WR1: Emmanuel Sanders, Markus Wheaton

    WR2: Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Derek Moye

    RB: Isaac Redman, Le'Veon Bell, La'Rod Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones

    TE: David Johnson, David Paulson, Michael Palmer

    FB: Will Johnson, David Johnson

    LT: Mike Adams

    LG: Ramon Foster, Guy Whimper

    C: Maurkice Pouncey, Cody Wallace

    RG: David DeCastro

    RT: Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum

    LDE: Ziggy Hood, Al Woods

    NT: Steve McLendon, Hebron Fangupo

    RDE: Brett Keisel, Cam Heyward

    LOLB: LaMarr Woodley, Chris Carter

    LILB: Larry Foote, Vince Williams

    RILB: Lawrence Timmons, Kion Wilson, Terence Garvin

    ROLB: Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones

    LCB: Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown

    RCB: Ike Taylor, William Gay, Antwon Blake

    FS: Ryan Clark, Robert Golden

    SS: Troy Polamalu, DaMon Cromartie-Smith, Shamarko Thomas

    P: Zoltan Mesko

    K: Shaun Suisham

    LS: Greg Warren

    H: Drew Butler, Brian Moorman

    KR: Emmanuel Sanders, La'Rod Stephens-Howling

    PR: Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton

     

    According to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, tight end Matt Spaeth has been put on injured reserve-recall, which means he can come back to the active roster after six weeks.

Starters and Injury Notes

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    Training-camp battles produced a few new faces who will be taking up starting jobs, while others were definitely not up for grabs. Here are the current Steelers starters as well as a roundup of their injured players.

     

    Starters

    QB: Ben Roethlisberger

    RB: Isaac Redman*

    WR1: Emmanuel Sanders

    WR2: Antonio Brown

    TE: Matt Spaeth*

    FB: Will Johnson

    LT: Mike Adams

    LG: Ramon Foster

    C: Maurkice Pouncey

    RG: David DeCastro

    RT: Marcus Gilbert

    LDE: Ziggy Hood

    NT: Steve McLendon

    RDE: Brett Keisel

    LOLB: LaMarr Woodley

    LILB: Larry Foote

    RILB: Lawrence Timmons

    ROLB: Jason Worilds

    LCB: Cortez Allen

    FS: Ryan Clark

    SS: Troy Polamalu

    RCB: Ike Taylor

    P: Drew Butler

    K: Shaun Suisham

    LS: Greg Warren

    H: Drew Butler

    KR: Emmanuel Sanders

    PR: Antonio Brown

    (* indicates injured)

     

    Injury Notes

    Presumed starting tight end Heath Miller could return to active duty sometime in September after a major knee injury at the end of the 2012 season. Current starter on the depth chart, Matt Spaeth, is also sidelined with a Lisfranc sprain in his foot, presently making second-year tight end David Paulson the starter.

    Though listed as the starter on the depth chart, running back Isaac Redman has missed two preseason games with a stinger in his neck. He should be ready for the regular season. 

    Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell also has a foot injury and is expected to miss at least the first month of regular-season action.

    Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones was taken to the hospital after a hard hit in the team's third preseason game, but it was only a precautionary move. The Steelers believe he has a bruised chest or sternum. There is no indication whether he'll miss time or how much.

First Round of Roster Cuts

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    Though teams have until 4:00 p.m. ET to announce their first round of roster cuts, which must take the team down to 75 players, the Steelers have already made the moves. Here's a list of who the Steelers have released from the roster, according to their official announcement at Steelers.com.

    • OT D'Anthony Batiste
    • RB Baron Batch
    • OT Mike Farrell
    • WR David Gilreath
    • WR Tyler Shaw
    • CB Ryan Steed
    • LB Stevenson Sylvester
    • TE Peter Tuitupou
    • QB John Parker Wilson
    • WR J.D. Woods
    • RB Jeremy Wright

    Additionally, the Steelers have put second-year linebacker Sean Spence on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, and guard Justin Cheadle and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke have been waived/injured. Rookie defensive end Nick Williams is on the team's injured reserve list.

    Among the cuts, only two are surprises: Running back Baron Batch and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester. However, with the Steelers bringing on another running back (Felix Jones) last week and apparently still having interest in keeping La'Rod Stephens-Howling on the roster, Batch became less of a priority.

    With Sylvester, a combination of a disappointing showing in his time in Pittsburgh and an ankle injury he suffered in the preseason opener resulted in his release. 

Depth Chart Post 75-Man Roster Cuts and Previewing 53-Man Roster Cuts

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    Here's how the Steelers depth chart looks after their first round of roster cuts:

    QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones

    WR1: Emmanuel Sanders, Markus Wheaton, Justin Brown, Reggie Dunn

    WR2: Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Derek Moye, Kashif Moore

    RB: Isaac Redman, Le'Veon Bell, Jonathan Dwyer, La'Rod Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones, Alvester Alexander

    TE: Matt Spaeth, David Johnson, David Paulson, Jamie McCoy, Michael Palmer, Nathan Overbay

    FB: Will Johnson, David Johnson

    LT: Mike Adams, Joe Long

    LG: Ramon Foster, Guy Whimper, Mike Golic, Jr.

    C: Maurkice Pouncey, John Malecki, Joe Madsen

    RG: David DeCastro, Chris Hubbard

    RT: Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum

    LDE: Ziggy Hood, Al Woods

    NT: Steve McLendon, Hebron Fangupo, Alameda Ta'Amu

    RDE: Brett Keisel, Cam Heyward, Brian Arnfelt

    LOLB: LaMarr Woodley, Chris Carter, Alan Baxter

    LILB: Larry Foote, Vince Williams, Brian Rolle

    RILB: Lawrence Timmons, Marshall McFadden, Kion Wilson, Terence Garvin

    ROLB: Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones

    LCB: Cortez Allen, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne, Devin Smith

    RCB: Ike Taylor, William Gay, Isaiah Green, Josh Victorian

    FS: Ryan Clark, Robert Golden, Ross Ventrone

    SS: Troy Polamalu, DaMon Cromartie-Smith, Shamarko Thomas

    P: Drew Butler, Brian Moorman

    K: Shaun Suisham

    LS: Greg Warren

    H: Drew Butler, Brian Moorman

    KR: Emmanuel Sanders, La'Rod Stephens-Howling, Reggie Dunn

    PR: Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Reggie Dunn

     

    Projected Cuts

    More running backs could see themselves released by the Steelers later this week, with Alvester Alexander a likely candidate. Tight ends will also get whittled down, while the Steelers may find themselves with a difficult decision at wide receiver, with both Derek Moye and Reggie Dunn showing promise during the preseason.

    On defense, we should expect a reduction of inside linebackers and cornerbacks. It's interesting to see how Hebron Fangupo's position as the team's No. 2 nose tackle affects the future of 2012 draft pick Alameda Ta'Amu. 

Free Agents the Steelers Have Signed or Are Rumored to Be Pursuing

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    Upon the release of guard/center John Malecki, the Steelers (via public relations director Burt Lauten) announced the signing of guard/center Cody Wallace, most recently of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wallace takes Malecki's spot on the 53-man roster.

    Fox Sports 1's Mike Garafalo reports that the Steelers will be signing free agent punter Zoltan Mesko, who was recently released by the New England Patriots. This will likely mean the end of Drew Butler.

    The Steelers have announced the signing of cornerback Antwon Blake, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars.