By Jeremy Hritz
We are only 2 days removed from the finalization of the 53-man roster, and things are still evolving and changing, as the Steelers prepare for their first regular season game against the Buffalo Bills. Here is an update on all things Steelers, including my take on the most recent Steelers news.
- Karl Joseph, a former first round pick out of West Virginia, was signed to the Steelers practice squad on Wednesday, and later in the day it was announced that after he successfully navigated the team’s COVID protocol, he would be signed to the 53-man roster. This is a win for the Steelers defense, as Joseph is a talented, physical player who will possibly be given the opportunity to play in subpackage defense, in addition to providing quality depth at the safety position. It is ironic that the team signed Joseph after he visited the team over the summer but walked away without signing a contract. Smart move by the Steelers.
- Arthur Maulet was signed to the 53-man roster following being cut on Tuesday, and the Steelers now have 5 cornerbacks on their roster, though they still may be in pursuit of another via waiver wire or trade. Keep an eye on this position over the next several days.
- It was announced on Wednesday that 3 players were headed to the Injured/Reserved list, Stephon Tuitt, Anthony McFarland, and Zach Banner. There had been speculation all summer regarding Tuitt and a possible injury, and that was confirmed yesterday by defensive coordinator Keith Butler who communicated to the media that he is working back from a knee injury. This ailment will test the Steelers defensive line depth early, and is the reason why they kept so many DL on the 53. Knowing that McFarland is dinged up, it makes sense now that both Bennie Snell and Kalen Ballage both remained on the 53-man roster, though once he is healthy, one of them will probably be gone. And finally, Banner has yet to fully recover from his ACL tear and needs more time, which will more than likely force rookie Dan Moore, Jr. into the fire as a starter against Buffalo. Here we go.
- Rashaad Coward and BJ Finney were both resigned to the 53-man roster. Glad to see Finney back because of the versatility and experience he brings to the offensive line.
- I still think there is a small chance the team pursues a tackle yet, and if they, it could be telling about Banner’s injury, and their confidence in the tackles on the roster.
- If a tackle isn’t signed, I anticipate Moore to start at left tackle and Chuks Okorafor to slide over to the right side. While Moore will have his struggles, I believe the Steelers have found a quality lineman who can be a starter in the NFL.
- Quincey Roche was picked up by the New York Giants. There goes the idea of sneaking him onto the practice squad. Roche was the only pick from this year’s draft class not to make the team.
- The practice squad is set and is comprised of the following:
Wide Receivers: Rico Bussey, Cody White, and Steven Sims
Running Backs: Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds
Offensive Line: Chaz Green, John Leglue, Malcolm Pridgeon
Tight End: Kevin Rader
Cornerback: Mark Gilbert
Safety: Donovan Stiner
Outside Linebackers: Derrek Tuszka, Christian Miler
Defensive End: Daniel Archibong
- The player I am most excited about on the practice squad is Steven Sims, and I will have a piece up on him later this week. He is a fast receiver and return man, and before it is all said and done, he will push Ray Ray McCloud off of the roster.
That is all for this Thursday! Have a wonderful day! One step closer to Buffalo! Let’s go!