Couple thoughts here related to the roster spots for the Defensive Line:
- The team typically carries 7 guys but they have carried 6 when they have that many guys with experience and not nearing the end of their careers.
- For many years Hoke was the DE/ NT backup. We did not have a dedicated NT backup.
- With the injuries to TE this year, it might be tempting to go with 6 guys but Keisel's age and the contract situation around Hood leave some uncertainty.
- Have Ta'Amu or Fanguopo shown anything to merit a roster spot? are either better than Al Woods? Ta'Amu did some good things in the second game. Fanguopo hasn't flashed in the game film other than appearing to be absolutely huge.
- Arnfelt has looked like a good prospect and considering Woods' ability at NT, maybe he could be the 7th in place of a dedicated NT. Considering the age of the starters, might be the smarter place to stock some youth.
- Arnfelt himself might make it to the PS but that's maybe a 50/50 proposition. He's played well and is a former team captain and a Steeler guy from what I've read. At 6-4 298 he might have some NT flexibility down the road as well.
- Heyward is still a huge question mark. I'm sure according to the original plans, he's there to make Keisel expendable at the end of his contract. can he make the jump this year? If he does would you dump Hood or Keisel?
- Will Hood be extended prior to the season? No word on any negotiations. I think he's better suited as a #1 backup but with him starting, you can't negotiate with him for backup salary. Bottom line is if no one can push him to start, you should probably extend him to lock down some stability
- How many miles left on the beard? Still playing at a high level but the end is near. I would assume his contract situation may be a year to year thing unless they need to add garbage years to smear out the cap hit.
If you go to 6 you might be better off bumping Ta'Amu over Arnfelt to give better backup flexibility this year. If you think Woods might push to start at DE next year, then you need to keep Ta' Amu and try to get Arnfelt to the PS.