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Predicting the Steelers Week 1 Inactive List vs. the Browns

Only 46 players can get a helmet on game day. So which seven players are likely to be announced as game-day inactives?

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Steelers Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Making the 53 man roster is the first step. But only 46 players can dress for the game. Here are several players that could be one of the seven players on the inactive list.


TE Vance McDonald - after being limited in practice on Wednesday, McDonald failed to return to the field on Thursday or Friday. He is the only Steeler that has already been ruled out for the game.

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph - The Steelers have their third quarterback inactive unless there are already seven players out due to injury. Rudolph will be that guy until he moves up the depth chart.

OT Zach Banner - The Steelers could dress eight offensive linemen. But they definitely won’t dress nine and Banner is the bottom man on the totem pole.

S Marcus Allen - With six safeties going along with five corners, they can’t all dress for the game. And the fifth-round rookie is the most-likely candidate to be left out for now.

NT Dan McCullers - It’s hard to carry another nose tackle on game day when the position is only used around 30% of the time on defense. Dan sits unless he can unseat Javon Hargrave as the starter.


OL Matt Feiler or Chuks Okorafor - Seven is a safer bet for the number of linemen the Steelers will dress. If Feiler could prove his versatility to play tackle, Chuks might not get a helmet until he gets more experience.

WR Justin Hunter or James Washington - Carrying six receivers on game day would be a luxury, but Switzer may not be ready at receiver and just return kicks. Hunter doesn’t bring any special teams value and Washington missed time in the preseason which could hinder his readiness.

LB Matthew Thomas or L.J. Fort - A fifth ILB could be left out. With only three outside backers on the roster and a lot of special teams value, this is a position where dressing everyone could be justified.

DB Jordan Dangerfield or Coty Sensabaugh - Ten DBs seems like a lot for game day. The Steelers may need to carry that many if they’re planning on using their new dollar defense. If not, it comes down to if they want the extra corner or safety.

Safe Positions:

RB - All three are needed to share the workload without Bell.

FB - Roosevelt Nix is all they’ve got, plus he’s a special teams stud.

TE - With McDonald out, the other two are in demand.

OLB - It’s questionable if the three that they have are enough.

Specialists - They are the only ones that do what they do.

Projected Inactive List:

  1. Vance McDonald
  2. Mason Rudolph
  3. Zach Banner
  4. Marcus Allen
  5. Daniel McCullers
  6. Matt Feiler
  7. Justin Hunter

I originally had Sensabaugh at number seven, but with the weather looking to be a big factor in the game, having an additional receiver might not help a game plan where passing could be at a minimum.

Feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.