As comes with every offseason and the end of OTA's are wounding down, training camp is right ahead of us and speculation of different position battles starts to arise. Here is your projected 53 man roster for the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers.
QB-3 Ben Roehtlisberger is the obvious starter and Bruce Gradkowski was brought in to be the backup. Landry Jones was drafted to sit back and learn from one of the best Qb's of this generation for a couple seasons. 1. Ben Roethlisberger 2. Bruce Gradkowski 3. Landry Jones
RB-4 There is a pretty heated battle coming up in training camp for who is going to start in the backfield. Leveon Bell was drafted so high for a reason, so he should start eventually. Jonathan Dywer and Isaac Redman will battle for the backup running back position. Larod Stephens Howling will be last years Chris Rainey and your change of pace back. Baron Batch is the odd man out. 1. Leveon Bell 2. Jonathan Dywer 3. Isaac Redman 4. Larod Stephens Howling
FB-1 Will Johnson was definitely a suprise last year. The only competition that could come at the fullback position will be if David Johnson decides to play fullback, but I think he is focusing at tight end. Will Johnson will definitely get more touches this year and will flourish in Todd Haleys system for years to come. 1. Will Johnson
TE-3 The Steelers have consistently carried 3 tight ends on their roster. Heath Miller is the starter if he is healthy. I expect David Paulson to improve greatly his sophmore year and the Steelers offense could improve dramatically if he does. Could you imagine with a workhorse running back behind a young and energetic offensive line and improved fullback, speedy veteran wide receivers, and 2 very good tight ends. If Haley could use the 2 tight end sets like the Patriots, the Steelers will have a very dangerous offense. Matt Spaeth is last years Leonard Pope and will be primarily used as a blocking tight end. 1. Heath Miller 2. David Paulson 3. Matt Spaeth
O LIne-8 The Steelers offensive line has taken a huge step forward this offseason led by Maurkice Pouncey. First off, they are all healthy besides Mike Adams stabbing incident, but that's not a football related injury and he should be ready by the start of training camp. The starters should go from left to right Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David Decastro, and Mike Adams. Kelvin Beachum may even overtake Ramon Foster for the starting guard spot, which I think would make the line even better. If not, Beachum will back up at least the guard positions, maybe even the center and both tackle positions. John Maleki will have to work for his spot, but I think he will make it as a backup guard and center. Guy Whimper is a veteran and will backup the tackle positions.
WR-6 There are many different ways the Steelers can go with the wide receivers. The starters are Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Markus Wheaton is a lock to make the roster and should take over the third WR position. Jerricho Cotchery is the softspoken veteran of the group, and he should stick with the team for at least this season. That leaves 2 more positions. Plaxico Burress has been the favorite, but Justin Brown could come up and take his spot. The two have very similar body styles, both having height that the other receivers lack. Justin is a cheaper option, a younger option, has more upside because of his age and has experience on special teams. All that is working against Plaxico and I would say that the Steelers try to develop Justin Brown. The last receiver, well you will find out who that is later. 1. Antonio Brown 2. Emmanuel Sanders 3. Markus Wheaton 4. Jerricho Cotchery 5. Justin Brown 6. ???
D Line-7 Not many questions along the defensive line. The starters are probably Ziggy Hood, Steve Mclendon, and Brett Keisel. Cameron Heyward will back up the defensive ends and may even overtake Brett Keisel in training camp. I would like to see that to see him, Ziggy and Steve play next to each other and get some chemistry together. Al Woods has been taking snaps as the backup NT. Rookie Nick Williams has impressed so far and I would say he makes the roster as a backup DE. The last position is another NT and that will be Alameda Tamu.
LB-9 The linebacker positon has been a topic of conversation this offseason. The Steelers have 2 rookie linebackers that have impressed so far and are possibly the future of the position. Lamaar Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, and Larry Foote are all bets to start. There is a competition at right outside linebacker between Jason Worilds and first round pick Jarvis Jones. Usually rookies do not start in Dick's system, but this year could be different if Jarvis shows enough to beat out Jason. The other backup outside linebackers will be Chris Carter and Adrian Robinson. The backup inside linebackers will be Vince Williams and Stevenson Sylvester.
CB-5 Starters Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen should once again shut down opposing wideouts. William Gay was brought in to be the third CB. There is some competition behind that though. Terry Hawthorne could possibly have a bright future with the team if he develops nicely, and Carnell Lake will definitely help the cause. Curtis Brown has been a dissapointment but should make the roster to play special teams. 1. Ike Taylor 2. Cortez Allen 3. William Gay 4. Terry Hawthorne 5. Curtis Brown
S-4 The safety position is once again set with starters Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, but for the first time in a while, the backups are not Will Allen and Ryan Mundy. The Steelers will develop Robert Golden and Shamarko Thomas to be eventually take over for the two starters. There is no one better to learn from either. 1. Troy Polamalu 2. Ryan Clark 3. Robert Golden 4. Shamarko Thomas
ST-3 Every offseason the Steelers bring in competition for all 3 special teams positions. Last years starters were Shaun Suisham at kicker, Drew Butler at punter and Greg Warren at long snapper. Their competition this year in order is Danny Hrappman, Brian Moorman and Luke Ingram. Shaun should have no problem beating Danny out because of his stellar season last year. The veteran Greg Warren should beat out Luke Ingram at the LS position unless the Steelers just want to get younger, but Greg is too reliable. I honestly think the only reason Brian Moorman is here is to help out Drew Butler instead of compete with him. Brian has been one of the best punters of the last decade, but he doesn't have too much longer left. Drew Butler has tremendous upside and should improve greatly with Brian helping him out. Now to the 6 WR position and to mainly play special teams, KR/PR Reggie Dunn will make the roster as a 6 WR but will return kicks and punts. K Shaun Suisham P Drew Butler LS Greg Warren KR/PR Reggie Dunn
There is your projected 53 man roster. Tell me what you think!