Pittsburgh Steelers' 53-Man Roster Prediction: Starting CB Doesn't Make the Cut

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers' 53-Man Roster Prediction: Starting CB Doesn't Make the Cut

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    After looking terrible against the Washington Redskins, the Pittsburgh Steelers came out with vengeance against the Philadelphia Eagles.

    There are still two more Preseason games for guys to prove themselves and many position battles to be figured out.

    Here is how I think the Steelers 53-man roster will ultimately pan out and also who the team will keep on the Practice Squad.

Quarterback

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    Even though Ben Roethlisberger did not get his third Super Bowl trophy last season, he is still the best quarterback in the NFL.

    He has the size, accuracy, toughness, competitiveness and the most important quality you want in any quarterback, he just wins.

    Byron Leftwich is clearly the best option behind Ben at this point and should be the backup unless something drastic happens.

    Charlie Batch did a good job starting last season when the Steelers needed him however, I still think the team will hang on to Dennis Dixon for one more season.

     

    Starter: Ben Roethlisberger

    Backup: Byron Leftwich

    Third String: Dennis Dixon

     

    Gone: Charlie Batch

     

    Roster Spots: three

Half Back

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    Rashard Mendenhall may have made headlines in the offseason for his comments, however, he is still one of the most complete backs in the NFL.

    He still needs to work on his fumbling problem as he lost two in the playoffs including one against the Packers in the Super Bowl.

    Isaac Redman looks like a beast in the preseason and with Baron Batch going on IR, Mewelde Moore will be the third-down back.

    Jonathan Dwyer is the guy who benefits most from the Batch injury and actually looked pretty good against the Eagles so he gets that last running back spot.

    As far as fullback I think it will be a full committee this season with David Johnson, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Doug Legursky and even John Clay if he shows enough value at the position.

     

    Starter: Rashard Mendenhall

    Primary Backup: Isaac Redman

    Third Down Back: Mewelde Moore

    Backup: Jonathan Dwyer

    Fullback: David Johnson/Jonathan Dwyer/Isaac Redman/Doug Legursky

    IR: Baron Batch

    Gone: John Clay, James Johnson

     

    Roster Spots: four

    Total: seven

Tight End

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    Most of the offense took a slight hit in 2010 with Ben Roethlisberger missing the first four games and that included Heath Miller.

    With that said, Heath is still one of the best tight ends in the game and there is steep competition for who will be backing him up.

    David Johnson has had a pretty good camp and could possibly be ready for a larger role in the Steelers offense, or the team could just choose to continue to use him as an H-Back/fullback type of player.

    When the Steelers signed Weslye Saunders I thought he could have a decent year as a rookie until they brought in John Gilmore.

    Gilmore is more of a blocking tight end however, and there is no way that the Steelers will be able to sneak Saunders onto the Practice Squad so they’ll keep him.

     

    Starter: Heath Miller

    Backup: David Johnson

    Backup: John Gilmore

    Backup: Weslye Saunders

     

    Gone: Jamie McCoy, Vaughn Charlton, Miguel Chavis

     

    Roster Spots: 4

    Total: 11

Wide Receivers

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    Mike Wallace has become one of the best receivers in the NFL with great speed and is always improving his hands and route running.

    Hines Ward may have had a down year in 2010 however, he is still more than capable of being productive and with Ben Roethlisberger back, he should be fine in 2011.

    Emmanuel Sanders seemed poised to become a big part of the Steelers offense in his second year although he has not been healthy yet this camp.

    With Sanders hurt, it has given Antonio Brown the opportunity for more playing time and he has looked great in camp and the preseason.

    Jerricho Cotchery was a late signing yet he could become a great pickup for the Steelers as a good veteran receiver.

    Arnaz Battle and Tyler Grisham made pushes for roster spots in camp however, I think the Steelers are going to need those spots for other positions.

     

    Starter: Hines Ward

    Starter: Mike Wallace

    No. 3 slot: Emmanuel Sanders

    No. 4: Antonio Brown

    No. 5: Jerricho Cotchery

     

    Gone: Arnaz Battle, Tyler Grisham, Terrence McCrae, Armand Robinson, Kenny Moore, Eric Greenwood, Wes Lyons

     

    Roster Spots: Five

    Total: 16

Offensive Line

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    The Steelers' offensive line has been all over the place so far in camp and the preseason and there are a few spots still up for grabs.

    At this point I see the starting offensive line being Jonathan Scott, Chris Kemoeatu, Maurkice Pouncey, Trai Essex and Willie Colon.

    I’m hoping that Marcus Gilbert can stay healthy and still fight for at worst the starting left tackle spot, however, I think the Steelers may choose to develop him for a year barring injury.

    I had high hopes for Chris Scott coming into camp but he has looked really bad so far and now I think his best case scenario is landing on the practice Squad.

    The one real surprise is Tony Hills making the team since I did not think he would even get an offer from the Steelers and now he started at guard against the Eagles.

     

    Left Tackle: Jonathan Scott

    Left Guard: Chris Kemoeatu

    Center: Maurkice Pouncey

    Right Guard: Trai Essex

    Right Tackle: Willie Colon

    Backup: Doug Legursky

    Backup: Ramon Foster

    Backup: Marcus Gilbert

    Backup: Tony Hills

     

    Gone: Chris Scott, Colin Miller, John Malecki, Keith Williams, Trevis Turner

     

    Roster Spots: Nine

    Total: 25

Defensive Line

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    The Steelers defensive line is the best in the league and now they will be getting Aaron Smith back healthy.

    They already have Brett Keisel at No. 1 defensive end and Ziggy Hood showed last season that he is a dominant force on the other side when in the game.

    With Smith and Keisel starting and Hood as the backup, the Steelers defensive line should be just as stout as last season.

    Then throw in first-round pick Cameron Heyward, who has been impressive so far in camp and could contribute in his rookie year.

    Casey Hampton is back plugging up the middle and Chris Hoke has been a solid backup at both DT and DE.

     

    Starter: Aaron Smith

    Starter: Brett Keisel

    Starter: Casey Hampton

    Primary Backup: Ziggy Hood

    Backup: Chris Hoke

    Backup: Cameron Heyward

     

    Gone: Corbin Bryant, Jarrett Crittenton, Steve McClendon, Anthony Grey

     

    Roster Spots: six

    Total: 31

Linebacker

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    Because of the Steelers having greater needs at other positions, I do not see the team keeping an extra linebacker on the roster.

    I thought at the beginning of camp that they would definitely find a roster spot for Mario Harvey, however, he has not played at all due to injury and I see him going to the practice Squad now.

    There is no question to who are the starters and that will be LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons.

    I was hoping that Larry Foote would be overtaken by a guy like Mario Harvey as I stated, but now I think they keep him for one more season.

    Stevenson Sylvester and Jason Worilds will be a lot more involved with the defense in 2011 and will still be major contributors on special teams.

    This will basically be a red shirt year for Chris Carter who probably won’t see the field barring injury and even then he'll only play on special teams.

     

    Starter: LaMarr Woodley

    Starter: James Harrison

    Starter: Lawrence Timmons

    Starter: James Farrior

    Backup: Larry Foote

    Backup: Chris Carter

    Backup: Jason Worilds

    Backup: Stevenson Sylvester

     

    Gone: Mortty Ivy, Mario Harvey, Baraka Atkins, Chris Ellis, Chris McCoy

     

    Roster Spots: Eight

    Total: 39

Cornerback

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    There is no question with Ike Taylor starting on one side but I think the recent good play of Keenan Lewis could allow the Steelers to cut Bryant McFadden.

    I would rather them keep McFadden and cut William Gay, however, if the team is comfortable with Lewis starting, I am all for it.

    It is time in my opinion to see what some of these young corners can do even though I know that thinking burned the Steelers with Gay a couple years ago.

    There have been some reports that rookie Cortez Allen could be placed on injured reserve before the season and if that happens I could see the team then keeping McFadden but more likely an extra linebacker or offensive lineman.

    I think there is also a chance that Donovan Warren gets some significant playing time in 2011 as he has looked pretty good so far in the preseason.

     

    Starter: Ike Taylor

    Starter: Keenan Lewis

    No. 3: William Gay

    No. 4 Curtis Brown

    No. 5: Donovan Warren

    No. 6: Crezdon Butler

    No. 7: Cortez Allen

     

    Gone: Bryant McFadden, Niles Brinkley, Kevin Dockery, Macho Harris  

     

    Roster Spots: Seven

    Total: 46

Safety

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    The combination of Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark will roam the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary for at least one more season.

    Troy makes the entire defense better and elevates Clark’s game to another level while both of them are on the field.

    Ryan Mundy showed to be serviceable last season when Troy was hurt and I do not see anyone unseating him as the primary backup at safety.

    I thought there was a chance that Will Allen could be cut if Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith showed enough in camp, however, I just do not think that is going to happen at this point.

     

    Starter: Ryan Clark

    Starter: Troy Polamalu

    Backup: Ryan Mundy

    Backup: Will Allen

     

    Gone: Da’Mon Cromartie Smith, Brent Greenwood

     

    Roster Spots: Four

    Total: 50

Special Teams

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    I was surprised to see the Steelers not bring in an undrafted free-agent kicker to camp since I thought there were a few interesting guys out there.

    As it stands, Shaun Suisham is set to be the kicker for the Steelers this season although he has not attempted a field goal in the first two preseason games.

    Daniel Sepulveda has proven to be the best guy for the punting job even though he has shown to be a bit injury prone.

    I thought this would be the season that Greg Warren would be replaced at long snapper, however, in the end I see the Steelers keeping him in that spot.

    Kicker: Shaun Suisham

    Punter: Daniel Sepulveda

    Long Snapper: Greg Warren

     

    Gone: Jeremy Kapinos, Swayze Waters

     

    Roster Spots: Three

    Total: 53

Practice Squad

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    I am really hoping that pretty much all of these guys make it to the practice squad and do not get picked up by other teams.

    I can see Cromartie-Smith, Clay, Scott, Grey and Harvey all making the team next season if they are not signed by anyone else.

     

    Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith SS

    John Clay RB

    Chris Scott T/G

    Kyle Jolly T

    Anthony Grey NT

    Tyler Grisham WR

    Mario Harvey LB

    Jamie McCoy TE