Now that the NFL Draft has concluded, it is time to look ahead to what the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers could potentially look like. Besides having another solid draft, the Steelers brought in a few interesting undrafted free agents who could push for spots on the roster. There are going to be a lot of heated position battles once training camp gets under way and I can’t wait till we officially know how it all turns out.
Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones
The quarterback position is probably one of the more cut and dry positions on the team with the team carrying their normal three. Ben Roethlisberger is obviously not going anywhere, Bruce Gradkowski was brought in to be the backup and Landry Jones was drafted to sit and develop for a few years.
Running Back/Full Back (5)
Le’Veon Bell, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Will Johnson
Le’Veon Bell was drafted to be the starting running back but he is going to have to prove that he is ready to be the number one guy out of camp. There is a big chance the Steelers find a way to trade Jonathan Dwyer though until then I have Baron Batch being the unfortunate odd man out in this battle. The fact that LaRod Stephens-Howling can return kicks gives him the edge in my opinion.
Tight End (3)
Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, David Paulson
There is still the question of whether or not Heath Miller will actually be ready to go for week one yet I am going to assume he will be. If Heath does not show that he is ready I think the team would then keep David Johnson on the roster for a few weeks.
Wide Receiver (5)
Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, David Gilreath
This is going to be one of the more interesting position battles in camp and I believe David Gilreath is going to beat out Plaxico Burress. Burress obviously has the size but Gilreath has return ability which pushes him ahead at this point.
Offensive Line (9)
Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Kelvin Beachum, Mike Golic Jr., Max Starks, Doug Legursky
I am just going to guess right now and say the Steelers re-sign Max Starks and Doug Legursky because there is no way they go into the season with no backups. The rest of the offensive line is pretty cut and dry although I have Mike Golic Jr. making the team because of his position flexibility.
Defensive Line (7)
Brett Keisel, Steve McLendon, Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods, Alameda Ta’amu, Hebron Fangupo
Although there is a chance the team could re-sign Casey Hampton to backup Steve McLendon, I just don’t see that happening at this point. Alameda Ta’amu and Hebron Fangupo will be given every chance to prove they can be the backup to McLendon.
Inside Linebacker (4)
Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Marshall McFadden, Vince Williams
I have been a big Stevenson Sylvester fan since he was drafted however, I don’t see him being given another shot on the team. Marshall McFadden was a beast last pre-season and he should be able to stick this year. Vince Williams isn’t a lock to make the team as a rookie but I think he’ll show enough potential to stash away down the depth chart for now.
Outside Linebacker (4)
LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds, Jarvis Jones, Chris Carter
With the drafting of Jarvis Jones I think that means someone is the odd man out here and the fact that Adrian Robinson hasn’t shown anything on special teams makes him that guy for me here. Chris Carter will have to earn his roster spot but if he stays healthy I don’t see why he can’t beat out Robinson.
Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Curtis Brown, Terry Hawthorne, DeMarcus Van Dyke
Although Terry Hawthorne was a fifth round pick, I would be surprised if he didn’t make the 53 man roster at this point. Hawthorne also brings the added dimension of returning kicks to table which also makes him more of a lock right now for me. Even though DeMarcus Van Dyke was flagged a lot last season on special teams, I see the Steelers trying to continue to develop him for another season.
Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Robert Golden, Shamarko Thomas
There aren’t any real surprises here other than the fact that I decided to go with four safeties instead of five. If the team goes with five corners instead of six then I see Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith making it as the fifth safety.
Special Teams (3)
Shaun Suisham, Drew Butler, Greg Warren
The only thing you can say about the special teams group is that I hope the players the Steelers brought into camp at least give some kind of competition in camp.
Practice Squad (8)
John Malecki G, Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith S, Josh Victorian CB, Nick Williams DE, Justin Brown WR, Curtis McNeal RB, Jamie McCoy TE, Mike Farrell OT
The practice Squad could literally go in any direction and the story could be more about who doesn’t make it rather than who does. Right now I don’t have speedster Reggie Dunn or offensive linemen Joe Long and Nik Embernate making the squad.
There is so much that needs to happen before the actual 53 man roster is set and it is going to be fun to see everything unfold. Although I have certain players that I am personally rooting for, I just want to see everyone compete and earn their spots on the team.