The Pittsburgh Steelers have 5 cuts to make before the 6:00 pm deadline and team will not make an official announcement until closer to six.
Here’s what we know:
The team will keep 3 quarterbacks, 4 running backs, 3 tight ends, 4 safeties and 8 linebackers. At several positions, the Steelers can still go in a number of directions by keeping 5 or 6 wide receivers, 6 or 7 defensive linemen, 9 or 10 offense linemen and 6 or 7 cornerbacks.
One punter (Jeremy Kapinos or Daniel Sepulveda) and one tight end (John Gilmore or Wesyle Saunders) will be released and at least one defensive lineman (Crittenton, McLendon or Hoke) will be cut and possibly two.
That leaves Arnaz Battle, Offensive Line and Cornerback as the wildcards
Notable players said to be in jeopardy of losing roster spot:
Chris Hoke, Daniel Sepulveda, Crezdon Butler, Arnaz Battle, Tony Hills, Chris Scott
Projected 53-man Roster
Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon
Analysis:Placing Byron Leftwich on injured reserve solved the quarterback situation
Running Backs (4)
Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Mewelde Moore, Jonathan Dwyer
Analysis:The injury to Baron Batch led to their being no competition for Jonathan Dwyer at the No. 4 running back spot. Dwyer though showed improvement in several areas throughout the preseason, most notably in the blocking department.
Wide Receivers (6)
Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Arnaz Battle
Analysis: Indications are the Steelers really want to keep Arnaz Battle due to his ability as a special teamer and although I don’t agree with them keeping six wide receivers, hunch right now is that Battle finds a way on the 53-man roster. If that’s the case, the Steelers will be forced to subtract at another position, such as cornerback.
Tight Ends (3)
Heath Miller, David Johnson, Wesyle Saunders
Analysis: The final tight end spot is down to veteran John Gilmore and rookie Wesyle Saunders. The Steelers like Gilmore more as a blocker but the team is very intrigued about Saunders potential and believe there’s a good chance he would be claimed on waivers.
Offensive Line (9)
Jonathan Scott, Chris Kemoeatu, Maurkice Pouncey, Doug Legursky, Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Trai Essex, Tony Hills
Analysis:The Steelers are expected to carry 9 offensive linemen and if that’s the case, one will have to go. Indications are the final decision is down to Tony Hills and Chris Scott. The NFL game has been too big for Scott and he could benefit from a full year on the practice squad.
Defensive Line (7)
Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, Chris Hoke, Steve McLendon
Analysis: 6 or 7 defensive lineman is among the top storylines today along with cornerback and the punter battle. Chris Hoke is in serious jeopardy due to the emergence of Steve McLendon but the bet here is that the Steelers keep both and make the easy move by releasing Jarrett Crittenton who the team would look to place on practice squad.
LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior, James Harrison, Larry Foote, Stevenson Sylvester, Chris Carter.
Analysis: Releasing Baraka Atkins and Mortty Ivy solved the linebacker situation where the Steelers will carry eight. 2010 4th round pick Thaddeus Gibson has been released again and it’s possible the Steelers look into him, but most likely as a practice squad candidate.
Ike Taylor, Bryant McFadden, William Gay, Keenan Lewis, Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen
Analysis: Very real chance that the Steelers keep seven cornerbacks for the first time in the Mike Tomlin era but under the possible scenario of keeping Battle as the 6th wide receiver and 7 defensive linemen, carrying seven cornerbacks won’t be possible. If the Steelers keep six, Crezdon Butler not Cortez Allen is believed to be the odd-man out.
Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Will Allen, Ryan Mundy
Analysis: No changes in the top-4 from last season.
Shaun Suisham, Daniel Sepulveda, Greg Warren
Analysis: A toss up at the punter position. Jeremy Kapinos has outperformed the oft-injured Daniel Sepulveda and there were signs in Thursday’s game pointing to Kapinos, such as being the primary holder for Shaun Suisham. The Steelers should go with Kapinos but there continues to be a belief around the team that the Steelers will stick with Sepulveda.