Okay so we are extremely close to the Steelers training camp date. I thought that I might throw my predictions in for how I think the roster will look come week one in Denver. Without further delay here I go;
- Ben Roethlisberger- He won two Super Bowls for the team, do I really need to explain why he's the starter.
- Byron Leftwich- Despite some injury concerns Leftwich is the prefect back up, he is a mentor as Antonio Brown pointed pointed out and he has starting experience in the league. Not to mention he matches Roethisbergers physical attributes well.
- Jerod Johnson- Again Johnson matches the physical profile of both other player here which is important for continuity. I have full confidence though that if some how Lefty and Ben are injured O'le Chuck will be call to play and not Johnson. This move is to start to develop a younger back up.
- Issac Redman- Reman proved he could be effective as a starter at the end of the season. With his physical style of play and a revamp O-line I have no hesitation in saying Redman is going to surprise the NFL this year.
- Baron Batch- If you have read any of his blog entries you have already found out that Batch mentally is something special, However physically he is perfect for a Todd Haley offense. He can be a receiver out of the backfield, he is a shifty runner, but the reason he will get playing time is that he can pass block.
- Johnathan Dwyer- Dwyer on the roster is the next best player, while Mendy is on the PUP he will be on the roster. I think he is gone after that.
- Chris Rainey- This kid is a play maker, he will be used on screens, at the WR position on some plays but were I think he contributes is in the PR game. His quickness is ideal for returning punts and I think he beats out Sanders. He was also very successful at blocking punts at Florida.
- Rashard Mendenhall- Will start on the PUP but I believe will make an impact behind a new line that will have six games and a bye week to gel. Look for him and Redman to lead a very efficient running attack into the playoff run.
- Antonio Brown- Brown is dedicated to prove he is better than where he was pick into the NFL. After working hard he proved to be a real talent. Ben seemed to establish a good connection with Brown and he will be helped by Wallace on the other side.
- Mike Wallace- One of the best deep threats in the NFL Mike Wallace will play this year for the Steelers. He has slowly started to add more just the deep route to his roster. While he still has work to do I think Todd Haley will help him out a lot.
- Emmanuel Sanders- Sanders might be the quickest WR in the group, he runs good routes and looks poised to have his best year yet. Injuries have held him back but I think this year he will break out. Unfortunately I also think that the 2013 season will be his last in the Black and Gold.
- Jerricho Cotchery- Consistency is really under rated by the average fan but that is why Cotchery brings to this group. He does everything well but nothing spectacular. He won't see as many touches as the other guys but expect him to make the most out of what he does get.
- Toney Clemons- The fifth and final WR spot is Clemons to lose. He is a tall and fast WR. He will need to work on his hands and route running but because the majority of the roster is shorter he makes it as the one tall guy of the group.
- Heath Miller- Now that he is not expected to be blocking half of the time Heath should have a very good year. However there are only so many plays to make and because of this look for Heath to make his impact in the redzone the most.
- Leonard Pope- Pope knows Todd Haleys offense and is average at everything. He is a sneaky receiver.
- David Paulson- He will be the number three TE until Saunders suspension is lifted the will be signed to the PS.
- Wesley Saunders- Saunders has shown some promise in limited time, unless Paulson shows something spectacular Saunders will at least be the 3rd TE. He may not dress for most games.
- David Johnson- Let's get this straight I am routing for Will Johnson to win this battle but until he proves he can David is a solid lock for FB. Last year he made some really good blocks and missed some. There are worse full backs in the league and there will be better.
- Mike Adams- Adams will definitely be on the roster and may be starting but he is not ready yet in my opinion look for some ups and downs early on.
- Willie Colon- Colon was one of the better run blocking tackles in 2009, after two year of injured reserve look for him to shake off some rust and be a upgrade at the LG spot.
- Maurkice Pouncey- I think the national media has give Pouncey too much credit. At the same time his critics have given him too little. I think the ankle was far worse than we knew his surgery should help immensely. Not to mention an upgrade at OG. Look for Pouncey's best year to date.
- David DeCastro- Look so much analysis has already been said about Decastro so I'll just say this. David Decastro will have a much better rookie season than Maurkice Pouncey did.
- Marcus Gilbert- Really surprised people last year, look for him to get even better and be the Steelers fixture at the RT spot.
- Max Starks- Honestly I think the chemistry Starks has with Ben and the inexperience of Adams means Starks is starting for a playoff run late in the year. I think Adams has a good future but he isn't ready yet.
- Ramon Foster- Foster stays on the roster because he can play both tackle and guard.
- Trai Essex- Essex gets the nod over Legursky because he can play every position on the line. Just none of them very well.
- Kelvin Beachum- Will make the roster over Legursky but will not dress for a game unless injuries surmount.
- Brett Kesiel- Kesiel has dealt with some small injuries the last couple years and may see some decreased snaps but he is still the best D-linemen on this team.
- Steve McLendon- I see McLendon being the starter but I think Hampton will not be on the PUP come week one. He and Hampton will spit snaps.
- Ziggy Hood- Hood has rededicated himself and I expect his best year yet. But when you have only put together poor years so far that is not saying much.
- Casey Hampton- Let's face it what Hampton will be ask to do is not the same as a running back. he will be able to play week one but have limited snaps
- Cameron Heyward- Heyward will probably sub in for Hood on passing plays and may spell Kesiel too keep him fresh. He looks like a rising talent and if Hood falters he could take his spot.
- Alameda Ta'amu- I think Ta'amu can be very effective as a NT. However it will take John Mitchell some time to teach him he is a 340lbs run stopper and not a pass rusher. Ta'mu may see some time by the end of the season as McLendon may be ask to spell the LE spot at times.
- Corbin Bryant- Bryant will get the last spot and dress only on days when Tomlin thinks conditioning will be a problem.
- James Harrison- James is still very effective when he plays. However with his age, back problems and salary this could be Harrison final year in the black and gold.
- Lawrence Timmons- Dropped off last year partly because as he was getting his groove he had to move to OLB, look for a bounce back performance this year though.
- Larry Foote- Foote is the default guy here, if Sly or Spence can learn the defense well enough they are both athletic enough ton start over him. Look for one of them to come in on passing downs by years end.
- LaMarr Woodley- I am expecting a lot for Woodley, with an increase in Hoods play I think Woodley is capable of a 16 sack year and DYOP mentions come play off time. Where we all know how well he shines.
- Chris Carter- Carter is one of the quickest pass rushers on the roster, he got some time before injury last year but will need to play much better against the run. Look for him to be the back up ROLB and have more sacks than Worilds by the end of the year. That is my prediction.
- Jason Worilds- Worilds has not impressed and is looking at his last years in the balck and gold if he doesn't show something. I think he will be the back up LOLB by the start of the year.
- Sean Spence- Spence has impressed in shorts and I am excited to see him in pads
- Sylvester Stevenson- Sly may not even dress on gameday if Spence really impresses but he will be on the roster.
- Ike Taylor- Taylor is the Steelers best corner, don't let one game change your opinion about how good he is.
- Cortez Allen- Allen has all the physical tools to impress and I think after a full offseason and camp he will be the #2 corner.
- Keenan Lewis- By the end of the year I think Lewis will be relegated to the #4 corner but Curtis Brown has not been healthy enough to get significant reps.
- Curtis Brown- He is the quickest DB on the Roster, he will be great on slot blitzes but he is still very raw in the mental aspect of the game.
- Terrence Fredrick- Look when the Steelers drafted this kid I went to go watch film and liked what I saw. Then I read SteelCage's analysis of him and I started inhaling that KoolAide.
- Terry Carter- the kid has already impressed in minicamp and OTAs he is worth a roster spot and can be special teams player.
- Troy Polamalu- Duh
- Ryan Clark- Maybe slowing down a bit however he is still a good FS.
- Ryan Mundy- Mundy has been a good back up but he is going to have to do something special for the Steelers not to address the safety spot next offseason.
- Will Allen- He is being paid too much for a back up role but considering the lack of experience here they have to keep Allen as insurance.
- Shaun Suisham- It pains me to say that he will be on the roster this year. The Steelers chose not to bring in any legitimate competition for Suisham and his over paid contract.
- Drew Butler- Butler and Kapinos are essentially ideantical players, but Butler has a better upside.
- Greg Warren- He has been the long snapper for a long time and no reason to think otherwise.
- TE- David Paulson- when Saunders is back from Suspension
- FB- Will Johnson- I think the Steelers really like this kids athletic talent he just needs to get a feel for the game.
- RB- John Clay- Has experience with the team and PS eligibility
- DE- Ikponmwosa Igbinosun- A raw physical prospect for a DE
- WR- Marquis Maze- He needs to improve his thickness and routes but Maze brings SEC talent to the position.
- OT- Chris Scott- The lack of tackle depth is concerning Scott will be on the PS just in case. Hope he never sees a play though
- OLB -Adrian Robinson- I have like Robinson since before he became a Steeler. he isn't a great pass rusher but has a motor and some skill to develop.
- S-Myron Rolle- Look I don't think Rolle is a player who can start in this defense, I do think he can play special teams and he is a smart man so who knows.