By Jeremy Hritz
The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 53-man roster is set (for now), and the team can shift its attention to its first regular season game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, September 11th at 1:00 pm. Some trades were made (OLB, OL), some were not (Mason Rudolph is still a Steeler), and there were some surprises. Here are my thoughts on the flurry of moves that have transpired over the last 24 hours.
- High marks for the Malik Reed trade. The Steelers were thin at the OLB position, and they were able to land a player who has recorded 15 sacks over the last 3 season with the Denver Broncos. While not much of a run defender, the Steelers needed a pass rush specialist to spell TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith, and Reed is their guy. Derek Tuszka makes the roster as insurance as the #4, while also making contributions on special teams.
- Yes, Rudolph was not traded, but that does not mean teams are still not inquiring, and the Steelers are not listening. The team appears to want significant compensation, as much as a 3rd rounder, and won’t back off unless they get it. Looks like Rudolph is the QB#3, and I was wrong.
- One player I was not wrong in my prediction was Jaylen Warren making the roster. After watching his film this offseason prior to camp, I saw something intangible and valuable, and that came through in a big way in camp and in preseason games. Warren is a leader, and a humble guy, and he looks to be slated to be the #2 runner behind Najee Harris this season.
- Surprised by the Justin Layne cut (he was claimed by the Giants off of the waiver wire). Instead, the slower, less athletic James Pierre makes the roster. Not saying that Layne is a world-beater, but I thought he was the lesser of the two evils. Questions abound for the cornerback depth for this team.
- Seven wide receivers made the team, including Steven Sims, Miles Boykin, and Calvin Austin. One of them will have to go to the practice squad, right?
- Speaking of the practice squad, OL John Leglue is re-joining the Steelers on their PS. Chris Oladokun? He was signed to the KC practice squad. So much for that 7th round pick.
- Buddy Johnson gets cut, opening the door for Mark Robinson. He is raw, but has potential to develop into something special over time.
- The General, Joe Haeg was released, in a questionable move by the team. While the team added Jesse Davis, it is debatable whether or not he is a better prospect than Haeg. There is still no resolution to this offensive line heading into week #1, and quite possibly, it could be the reason why this team struggles to achieve a winning record for the first time under Mike Tomlin.
That is all for today, make it a great one!