Moving along to part 52 of our 90-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.
Let’s take a look at an SEC standout.
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 245 lbs
College: Mississippi State
Draft: UDFA in 2020
2019 stats (NCAA)
5.5 Tackles for loss
1 Forced Fumble
2 Fumbles Recovered
3 QB Hits
Expires in 2021
$612,333 salary cap number (0.31% of total cap)
$2,333 Dead money
$610,000 Savings if cut
Likelihood of making the roster
Possible but not likely — Practice squad
The final inside linebacker spot likely comes down between USC UDFA John Houston and Leo Lewis. As I expressed earlier in this series I believe Houston will end up winning the spot. That being said, the Steelers will be so thin at middle backer a practice squad player will likely see a call up at some point during the season. I think Lewis will be destined for the practice squad, but we can only hope that he goes unclaimed.
This is one case where a limited preseason might actually help the Steelers build its roster. Teams may be less likely to put in waiver claims for guys that they won't see play any (or limited) games. Also teams may be less likely to cycle through practice squad players in hopes of limiting the chance that the coronavirus could be picked up through travel.
N/A —Practice squad
I think how the middle linebacker position shapes up will be one of the most intriguing parts of training camp. The battle between Lewis, Houston, and Robert Spillane for the final inside spot should be a fun one, and to see what Ulysees Gilbert III can do next to Devin Bush could be exciting. One UDFA inside linebacker will have some sort of impact on the team in 2020, deciding which one it will be won't be an easy decision.
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Ulysees Gilbert III