With roster cuts looming, veteran wide receiver Shaun McDonald is currently on the outside looking in.
McDonald caught 79 passes two seasons ago for the Detroit Lions and leads the Steelers with 11 receptions in the preseason but has not been able to pass Mike Wallace on the depth chart.
With a little over 48 hours before the Steelers make their final cuts, the latest buzz surrounding McDonald is that he won’t make the team.
Odds stacked against McDonald
McDonald was brought into camp as insurance just in case Limas Sweed and Mike Wallace weren’t ready to contribute.
Despite a few dropped passes in key situations, Sweed has shown the ability that he is ready to contribute this season and the Steelers are confident moving forward with him as their #3 receiver.
In the passing game the Steelers have Holmes, Ward and Sweed as their top three wide outs. Tight ends Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth give Roethlisberger two more passing options.
Due to Miller’s pass catching ability, the Steelers don’t have much use for a 5th wide receiver let alone a 4th wide receiver.
Limas Sweed was the Steelers #4 receiver last year and caught 6 passes. The Steelers also rarely dress 5 wide receivers on game days and Dallas Baker the teams 5th receiver in 2008, had 1 reception.
The emergence of Stefan Logan has also hurt McDonald’s chances of making the team. The Steelers have to clear a roster spot somewhere and using 4 full time wide receivers is a viable option for the team.
McDonald was an option as a punt returner to open training camp but that is no longer the case.
Cutting McDonald would be risky from the standpoint that the Steelers #3 and #4 receivers have a combined 6 receptions in their career.
Based on performance in training camp, McDonald deserves to make the team. The downfall for McDonald is that the NFL is a numbers game and it’s the main reason he’s a player in serious jeopardy of not making the team.