For those of you who read the headline to this article and rolled your eyes thinking “Here we go again with another 53-man roster prediction article” — think again.
Every outlet around the country is doing their own version of predicting who will, and won’t, make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final roster after training camp, and the preseason, has officially ended, but I decided to go a bit more in-depth on the prediction side of things. Therefore, I decided to lead up to my first complete 53-man roster prediction by going position-by-position and deciding who will make the team, and who won’t.
Today’s position: Inside Linebacker
Similar to the first position covered in this series, the safety position, the inside linebacker position is one of uncertainty. No one really knows who is going to play alongside Vince Williams when the regular season starts.
This may be something which won’t get decided until training camp/the preseason rolls around, but I have a feeling I know what the depth chart will look like, and how each player will fit into the team’s scheme when all is said and done, barring injury.
Vince Williams — Williams has been somewhat of a scapegoat for Steelers fans this offseason, many believing he isn’t fast enough to play along side someone not named Ryan Shazier. I disagree. Sure, Williams has his limitations, but I feel he is more than capable on the inside of the defense for 2018.
Jon Bostic — Right now Jon Bostic has been behind Matakevich in offseason workouts, but I don’t expect that to last. Bostic is no Shazier, but his experience, and superior athleticism over Matakevich will make him the man on the inside when the games start counting.
Tyler Matakevich — Matakevich might not be the fastest, or athletic, linebacker in the game, but he is an extremely intelligent player. He will be the backup at both inside linebacker positions in case someone were to go down with an injury.
Matthew Thomas — I am taking a flyer here on Thomas to make the team, strictly on potential and special teams play. The team could use Thomas’ 4.5 speed on special teams, and if he can keep his head on straight he will certainly be able to provide depth at the position. To make the team, and not just be a practice squad candidate, Thomas will have to beat out Fort who has experience on the former Florida State product.
Players to be Cut: