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. The offseason 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 makes the team and who doesn’t.
Today’s position: Tight Ends
This will certainly be something not 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.
Vance McDonald — McDonald should look like a completely different player in 2018 compared to 2017, if he can stay healthy. With a complete offseason under his belt, and entering his first training camp with the Steelers, McDonald could be the safety net Ben Roethlisberger has been missing since Heath Miller retired. Expect big things from McDonald this year.
Jesses James — While many might just remember him for the non-catch vs. the Patriots last year, James has shown improvement every season since being drafted, and the Steelers will need him to continue this development for their two tight end packages. James is a lock to make the team.
Xavier Grimble — Grimble was given the opportunity to play more than usual last year with McDonald injured, and he showed he is capable of making plays for the Steelers’ offense. Some might wonder why the Steelers would only keep three tight ends, but their tendency to use an extra tackle as a tight end, and the versatility of rookie Jaylen Samuels, there isn’t a huge need to keep a fourth tight end. Grimble rounds out the tight end depth chart this year.
Players to be Cut:
Christian Scotland-Williamson (Automatic practice squad exemption)
Roster Spots taken: 53/53
Next up: The complete 53-man roster recap Thursday
Predicting the Starting Safeties
Predicting the Starting Inside Linebackers
Predicting the Starting Wide Receivers
Predicting the Starting Running Backs
Predicting the Starting Cornerbacks
Predicting the Starting Outside Linebackers
Predicting the Starting Offensive Linemen
Predicting the Starting Specialists
Predicting the Starting Defensive Line
Predicting the Starting Quarterback(s)