With the final preseason game upon us, it is time for some players to finally have their bubbles burst. It is a hard fact of life for NFL hopefuls that the end is nigh.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting at 75 players but will need to cut that list to 53 by Saturday, just two days after their final preseason game. This means tough choices will have to be made.
At this point, it is fair to surmise that most teams know upwards of 45 of the 53 players they plan to keep. That means that for a team like the Steelers there are 30 players who are working for eight spots. A little disheartening, I know.
Among those 30 players, there are a couple of rookies who have really impressed me that I will personally be rooting for to make the team. They have shown so much in just a few short weeks and have a real chance to impact this football team.
First is linebacker Vince Williams. Some have pointed out his personal foul penalty last weekend as cause for concern. This in no way outweighs the positive plays he has made this preseason. Williams was a bit of a late bloomer in college, but he showed flashes of real NFL potential during the second half of the 2012 season.
Williams will be in a battle with fellow linebackers Marshall McFadden and Brian Rolle as the primary backups to Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons.
Having reviewed the first three preseason games, Williams has shown the most potential at this point, and it looks to be between Rolle and Williams, with one making the active roster and the other headed to the practice squad.
The other player who has a very good chance of cementing his spot on the active roster is wide receiver Derek Moye. Moye has been a real star in limited reps this preseason. He leads the team with eight receptions, and on the field he flashes a big target with an excellent catch radius.
Moye is facing some stiff competition for one of the final spots on the receiver depth chart. Fellow rookies Reggie Dunn and Justin Brown are also fighting for what is likely going to turn out to be three players working for two spots. Moye looks to have a clear edge, but it is all in what the coaches see.
When the Steelers and Carolina Panthers square off, Williams and Moye are two of the names I will be watching with keen interest. The Steelers have been criticized for being too old to compete, but keeping players like Williams and Moye could change some of that perception.