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Steelers final 53 man roster prediction

Four preseason games are done, projecting the final roster, likely to be announced at some point Friday, gets a little bit easier.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

QUARTERBACK (3) -- Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones Comments: Jones looked like the rookie he is in the loss to Carolina - there were good things, there were bad things. There are also reasons why starting rookie quarterbacks is tough to do in the NFL.

RUNNING BACK (5) -- Le'Veon Bell, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Will Johnson (FB) Comments: Felix Jones looked solid against Carolina. So did DuJuan Harris last year. The team knew their running backs group heading into the game against the Panthers. And with Bell's injury, it looks very familiar to 2012.

WIDE RECEIVER (5) -- Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, Derek Moye Comments: Moye did more to help his stock Thursday than perhaps any other player on the roster. The Steelers have to be compelled to keep five receivers. That's not a guarantee, though.

TIGHT END (4) -- Heath Miller, David Paulson, David Johnson, Matt Spaeth Comments: Outside of the necessary administrative move of adding Matt Spaeth to the roster, only to place him on injured reserve with a designation to return, the extra spot will be used to bring in another tight end.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8) -- Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Kelvin Beachum, John Malecki, Joe Long Comments: The need at tight end is the reason the Steelers start with eight offensive linemen. Expect this to fluctuate throughout the year.

DEFENSIVE LINE (7) -- Ziggy Hood, Steve McLendon, Brett Keisel, Cameron Heyward, Al Woods, Loni Fangupo, Brian Arnfelt Comments: It's hard leaving Ta'amu off this list. Very hard. It may not even happen. The idea of rotating situational defensive linemen is appealing, especially in the heat of September, when teams like the Steelers' Week 1 opponents love to pick their off-color jerseys, making the Steelers play in black. Then again, the Steelers have one of those games in September - then two prime time games and an evening game in London.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (4) -- LaMarr Woodley, Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Alan Baxter Comments: Flip a coin between Baxter and Carter right now. Baxter gets the nod due to higher upside and lower contract. Plus, Baxter will likely draw the attention of another team.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (4) -- Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Vince Williams, Marshall McFadden, Comments: Vince Williams did the one thing he needed to do Thursday; he made a nice play on special teams. That puts him ahead of Brian Rolle and Kion Wilson.

CORNERBACK (6) -- Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian, Terry Hawthorne Comments: Isaiah Green has been one to watch this preseason, but was injured just a bit too long to upstage a fifth-round pick, who also missed some time due to injury. Wouldn't rule out Green over Brown, though.

SAFETY (4) -- Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Shamarko Thomas, Robert Golden Comments: Damon Cromartie-Smith just isn't athletic enough.

SPECIALIST (3) -- PK Shaun Suisham, P Brian Moorman, LS Greg Warren Comments: An impressive battle from Drew Butler just falls short at the end.

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