It's been awhile since we took a stab at the Stelers 53 man roster heading into the 2008 season. You can see our first installment, as well as the second and the third, to see what has changed since the middle of the summer.
Quarterbacks (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon
Running Backs (5): Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, Gary Russell, Carey Davis
Wide Receivers (5): Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Limas Sweed, Nate Wasington, Eddie Drummond
Tight Ends (3): Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Lee Vickers
Offensive Linemen (9): Marvel Smith, Kendall Simmons, Justin Hartwig, Chris Kemoeatu, Willie Colon, Max Starks, Darnell Stapleton, Trai Essex, Sean Mahan
Defensive Linemen (7): Brett Keisel, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, Orpheus Roye, Chris Hoke, Travis Kirschke, Nick Eason
Linebackers (8): James Harrison, Larry Foote, James Farrior, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Keyaron Fox, Andre Frazier, Bruce Davis
Defensive Backs (10): Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, DeShea Townsend, William Gay, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ryan Mundy, Anthony Smith, Tyrone Carter, Roy Lewis
Specialists (3): Greg Warren, Jeff Reed, Mitch Berger
Say Hello To:
Eddie Drummond - Has looked pretty good so far. Not sure I really like the acquisition, as he isn't much of a WR threat. But unless we want to roll the dice with Mendenhall's health by having him return kicks, we'll need a return guy back there, and Drummond's skills would make him more valuable than Dallas Baker, I believe.
Nick Eason - I'd guess that Eason and McBean are vying for one of the final roster spots. I'll give Eason the nod for now, though McBean could certainly overtake him with a nice couple weeks here.
Roy Lewis- Made the most of his opportunities so far, looking solid at both the CB and Safety position.
Orpheus Roye - Will make this team if he stays injury free. We need beef to spell Hampton at times. Hoke's solid, but an extra set of legs will help at some point this season. Trust me.
Trai Essex - With Jason Capizzi injured and Tony Hills looking confused and overmatched out there at this point in his career, Essex will make this team. He may not be a world beater, but he's done his job when called upon, including in last year's playoffs against Jacksonville, when he more than held his own.
Sean Mahan - Mahan is making this team. Last year was last year. Let's hope.
Lee Vickers - It really shouldnt take much for someone to beat out the duo of Jonathan Dekker and Cody Boyd. Vickers is an impressive physical specimen that the Steelers might be interested in hanging out to, just in case.
Byron Leftwich - Leftwich is on the team for now, but I wouldn't expect him to be a Steeler for more than a few months, if that. I always liked watching him sling the ball, but I really, REALLY do not want our prospects too closely tied to him this year. Even if he did throw a ball 80 yards in the air to Nate Washington for a TD the other day.
Say Goodbye To:
Dallas Baker - As I mentioned in the blurb about Drummond, Baker may just be unlucky that we don't have a DB on our roster who's adept at returning kicks. If we did, Drummond wouldn't have been brought in, and Baker probably would have snagged that relatively meaningless 5th WR spot. Because Baker can't return kicks or punts, he's the odd man out. That's unfortunate for him, because he has done everything he's supposed to have done this offseason. It's just tough to survive in the National Football League.
Tony Hills - I think he can still make this team, but he better get his act together quickly. Just about every report recounts his enormous struggles thus far.
Mike Humpal - Tough break for the kid. He's not healthy, and 5th round rookie LBs simply have to be out there learning and impressing if theyre going to make the squad their first year.
Jonathan Dekker - Could still very well be our 3rd TE. As could Boyd for that matter though.
Charlie Batch - Get well Charlie. See you soon out there.
Kyle Clement - Injured, then cut. I wouldn't bet on him not making a professional team in the future just yet. He's a raw talent with plenty of future left ahead of him if he works hard and catches some breaks health wise.
Jason Capizzi - More misfortune for Capizzi. I'm still pulling for him in the future, but it's not looking good for the kid.
Ryan McBean - Could still make this team. We know what we get from Eason -nothing much meaningful, so the job's there for the taking if Ryan can play consistent, athletic football for the next two weeks.
Travis Williams - Lewis's potential versatility to play both CB and safety is too valuable. With Polamalu's recent injury problems, Ryan Clark's missing spleen, and An Smith and Tyrone Carter's sometimes erratic play, Lewis could be an emergency option at safety. That means no room for T Williams. I think he'll be on our practice squad though. He's had a nice camp and preseason. The roster configuration just doesn't bode well for him this year. Maybe next when B-Mac walks and Townsend gets even one more year older.
Last Three Out:
Ryan McBean, Travis Williams, Tony Hills