Pittsburgh Steelers: Analysis of Final Roster

Chris GazzeCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers: Analysis of Final Roster

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    With the release of five players on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers have their final roster set for the season opener in Baltimore.

    Of the final five players cut, only Tony Hills and, to a lesser extent, Crezdon Butler were surprises.

    Now it is just a countdown to the season-opening kickoff against the Ravens.

    Let’s take a look at the final 53 players on the Steelers roster.

Quarterbacks

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    Ben Roethlisberger – Looks poised to have his best season yet and has plenty of options to throw to.

    Charlie Batch – Impressed last year as the backup and will get the opportunity to do so again after Byron Leftwich was placed on the IR.

    Dennis Dixon – The Steelers appeared to showcase him, but he has been thrust into the third-string role with the Leftwich injury. Likely saved his roster spot.

Running Backs

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    Rashard Mendenhall – Should be better this year but may get fewer opportunities to run the ball. However, receiving numbers may go up.

    Isaac Redman – Had a great preseason and could take some of the load off of Mendenhall.

    Mewelde Moore – Will likely still get time as a third-down back.

    Jonathan Dwyer – Had a terrible start to camp but played well in games, and had a very strong finish to the preseason.

Tight Ends

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    Heath Miller – Miller was quiet in the preseason, but we know what he is capable of.

    David Johnson – He was up and down but has locked down the No. 2 job. A much improved receiver.

    Weslye Saunders – Too much potential to release, could eventually develop into the backup.

Wide Receivers

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    Mike Wallace – He has drawn a lot of attention from opposing defenses, but has also developed into a more complete receiver.

    Hines Ward – Dependable veteran will eventually give way to young talent.

    Emmanuel Sanders – Finally getting healthy, Sanders had a solid effort in the final preseason game.

    Antonio Brown – Brown was the star of the preseason and looks to be a big-play receiver in the mold of Santonio Holmes.

    Jericho Cotchery – Rounds out what may be the deepest receiving corps in the league.

    Arnaz Battle – Will contribute on special teams and is a safe pick as an emergency receiver.

Offensive Line

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    Jonathan Scott – Needs to get healthy.

    Chris Kemoeatu – Still getting into game shape after being placed on PUP list early in camp.

    Maurkice Pouncey – He will look to build on his outstanding rookie season, but has to keep his ankles healthy.

    Doug Legurksy – Surprise starter at right guard will have to use his intelligence to make up for his lack of bulk.

    Willie Colon – Looks dominant and could have his best season on the horizon.

    Marcus Gilbert – Showed signs that he can play left tackle and is the future at the position.

    Trai Essex – After seeing snaps at center, he is officially the jack of all trades on the offensive line.

    Ramon Foster – Fell out of the right guard race early but provides depth at both guard and tackle.

    Chris Scott – Coaches must still like his upside because he looked very bad in the preseason.

Defensive Line

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    Aaron Smith – Force against the run but will give way to Ziggy Hood.

    Casey Hampton – Will continue to occupy blockers in the middle.

    Brett Keisel – Solid defensive end who will want to make another Pro Bowl.

    Ziggy Hood – Will likely earn starting time at left end before the season is over.

    Chris Hoke – Veteran provides the Steelers with little drop off when Hampton is taken out of the lineup.

    Cameron Heyward – Had a strong preseason and will see increased playing time as the season progresses.

    Steven McLendon – Too much talent to release; he provides more valuable depth.

Inside Linebackers

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    James Farrior – Dependable veteran may start for the last time this season.

    Lawrence Timmons – Like Woodley, also received a huge contract and will be expected to produce.

    Larry Foote – Dependable backup who is a top run-defender.

    Stevenson Sylvester – Athletic with a ton of potential, but still needs to fine tune his game.

Outside Linebackers

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    James Harrison – Back injury is bothering him but is still elite.

    LaMarr Woodley – His new contract means that he has high expectations; he is more than willing to meet them.

    Jason Worilds – Had a relatively quiet preseason, but may see more action this year if Harrison is not healthy.

    Chris Carter – Said to be a draft steal, and he has shown a quick first step.

Cornerbacks

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    Ike Taylor – Only true starting caliber cornerback on roster.

    Bryant McFadden – Injury sidelined him for the preseason, and he must be healthy to get on the field.

    William Gay – Everyone’s least favorite cornerback is solid as a nickel or dime back, and is good on the blitz.

    Keenan Lewis – Finally is beginning to live up to his potential but still needs to prove himself.

    Curtis Brown – Will see limited action early and must eventually develop and move up the depth chart.

    Cortez Allen – Very impressive in his limited preseason action, and has a higher upside than the released Butler.

Safeties

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    Ryan Clark – Dependable starter.

    Troy Polamalu – Looks to be healthy, and the Steelers need him to play at his Defensive Player of the Year level.

    Ryan Mundy – Continues to improve as a backup.

    Will Allen – No one was able to beat him out.

Specialists

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    Greg Warren – You never hear his name. That is a good thing.

    Shaun Suisham – Had a pretty good year last season and was the best option in camp.

    Daniel Sepulveda – Challenged by Jeremy Kapinos but is simply the more consistent punter.

Thoughts on Final 5 Released

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    Jarrett Crittenton – Surprised he lasted this long. I felt there were more talented players released earlier.

    Jeremy Kapinos – Put forth a good challenge and should not be out of work long.

    John Gilmore – If he is a top blocker, he needed to stand out more. Saunders was not much, if any, drop off in blocking, and offers a much higher upside as a receiver.

    Tony Hills – Went from a long shot to make the roster, to potential starter at right guard, to being cut. Thought he may have made enough strides at guard, but coaches apparently felt otherwise.

    Crezdon Butler – A lot of talk about potential but failed to live up to it. An interception return for a touchdown is not enough of a reason to make the roster. He was picked on as much if not more than Gay this preseason.

Your Thoughts

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    Now with the roster set, who do you want to see added to the practice squad?

    Are there any other released players that you would like the Steelers sign?

     

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