Sunday, May 21, 2006


Even though it's only May, DJ has taken the initiative and put together his 53-man roster. Here's his list, with my comments below:
Ok, since stuff is pretty quiet right now, I'm going to try and liven it up a bit by prognosticating what positions I think are already set for the 53 man roster:

QB - Roethlisberger, Batch, Jacobs
RB - Parker, Staley, Haynes
FB - Kreider
TE - Miller, Tuman
WR - Hines, Ced, Santonio, Reid, Morey
* I think I'm on the minority side on the Sean Morey issue - the way I see it, though, in the past few years the Steelers have basically had four spots on their roster dedicated to ST coverage experts, and if the guy can do more, bonus but not necessary. In recent years those spots have been filled by Morey, Kriewaldt, Harrison, and Keisel. Keisel's now a starting DE. I can't see the Steelers cutting Morey when they've already got one ST coverage hole to fill
OL - Hartings, Okobi, Faneca, Simmons, Kemoeatu, Smith, Starks, Essex
DL - Keisel, Smith, Kirschke, Hampton, Hoke
LB - Haggans, Porter, Harrison, Frazier, Farrior, Foote, Kriewaldt, Wallace
CB - Taylor, Townsend, McFadden
S - Polamalu, Clark, Smith
K - Jeff Reed
P - Chris Gardocki

That's 43, leaving 10 spots open. Of those 10, I think the Steelers definitely want at least one more CB, one more S, and one more DE.

Colclough probably has the inside track at corner, but I could also see him getting cut out of camp if he doesn't show improvement, considering he was in the doghouse all last year.

Nua's probably got the inside track for the last spot in the DE rotation. Harris might take it though. I suspect the Steelers will probably keep an extra DL on the roster beyond the 4 man rotation and regularly deactivate him (like Nua last year), which will probably be Harris. I don't see Bailey making the team unless one of Nua or Harris totally blows it in camp.

The Steelers will also keep a long snapper, and I'd suspect one more OL, probably Willie Colon unless he looks bad in camp, in which case Ryan's favorite player will get to stay on the team for another year. If Marvin Philip tears up the joint, he'll probably make the team as one additional OL, but otherwise he's looking at the practice squad.

So, that brings us down to 4 open spots. The Steelers certainly will want a 3rd TE (probably Charles Davis), and would probably like to get another FB on the roster, though they might just do what they did last year. I think they'd also like to fit Cedric Humes on the roster, but I think unless he forces the issue in camp he's also a likely target for the practice squad.

Given that Willie Reid is something of a project at WR, I think the Steelers probably want to fit one more WR onto the roster, so that'll likely be a battle between Nate Washington and Quincy Morgan. The Steelers probably want Washington to win, but my money would be on Quincy.

So, take out a 6th WR and 3rd TE, and there's 2 open spots. I suspect that's the Steelers are going to want a 9th DB and 9th LB on their roster, so there go those positions.

So, in my analysis, unless Humes or Philip or someone really tears it up in camp, the battles for roster spots look like this (players listed in order of who I feel the coaching staff most wants to win the job):

3rd TE: Davis/Battaglia
4th WR: Washington/Morgan
9th OL: Colon/Brooks
4th/5th DE: Nua/Harris/Bailey
9th LB: a bunch of undrafted rookies
4th CB: Colclough/Chidi/undrafted rookies
4th S: Logan/Carter/undrafted rookies
9th DB: see above
As promised, some thoughts:
* Yeah, I think this is it for Morey. I know Keisel will be a starter, but he can be replaced by Andre Frazier, assuming he's fully healthy by training camp. Plus, Rian Wallace will probably get more opportunities this season. I like Morey, but he didn't do much for me last season.

* Colclough's probably not getting cut. And I'm only basing this on Wexell's comments from before the draft:
"Colclough is still a favored player with the Steelers, particularly with DB assistant Ray Horton. I'm sure they're viewing him as the dime back next season."
* Nua/Harris will be interesting. As DJ mentions, you have to assume Nua has the inside track, but I really have no idea either way. Again, if I'm guessing, I think Bailey makes the team because he provides depth. After Smith and Hampton, there isn't a lot of experience. I know Keisel/Kirshke see some playing time, but they've never been relied on for an entire season. But like I said, I'm just speculating.

* And I agree about Colon. If he can't beat out Barrett Brooks for the job, he should give back any signing bonus he gets. He's supposedly a tough S.O.B. and doesn't put up with a lot of nonsense, even from veterans (players and writers ... or so the rumor goes). If nothing else, put him on special teams and let him wreak havoc with James Harrison.

* From the perspective of May, I think Charles Davis makes it -- especially if it's versus Marco Battaglia; Cedric Humes makes it (there's a spot at RB because of Bettis' retirement); and assuming Quincy's fully recovered, he and Nate both make it (along with Hines, Cedrick, Santonio, Willie Reid).

* Chidi makes it unless some undrafted rookie can out-Chidi him (kinda like Greg Warren out-Schnecked Mike Schneck last year).

* I think Mike Logan is done. He's getting old and he's often injured. Tyrone Carter is obviously much, much crazier, a better special teams player and probably a better safety at this point.

Luckily, we've got three and a half months before we find out.