Every year about this time I predict what the Steelers 53-man roster will be. So I'm not new at evaluating what I see, hear and read on the various players. This is just the first time I've been able to put it in blog form. Am I ever completely right? God, no. Honestly, how could I be? But I'm usually pretty doggone close. And if nothing else, hey, it's fun!
The easiest way to do this is to go position-by-position. I'll start with offense first, move to defense from there and finish with special teams. Here we go.
Ben Roethlisberger- 7 for #7; Byron Leftwich- one of the best backups in the NFL; Dennis Dixon- makes the most sense: he's younger, faster and more athletic than Uncle Charlie (plus, if something happens to anyone, Uncle Charlie is a phone call away, whereas Dixon would be long gone looking for work elsewhere).
Rashard Mendenhall- his 13 TDs last year led the team in scoring; Isaac Redman- ran with authority agains the Redskins; Mewelde Moore- slow and steady wins the race...and the 3rd RB spot; Jonathan Dwyer- thank Baron Batch's torn ACL for this one.
Mike Wallace- so fast that when he turns out the lights to go to sleep, he's in bed before the room gets dark; Hines Ward- the REAL Man of Steel; Emmanuel Sanders- the agony of da feet?; Antonio Brown- has been the Camp MVP; Jerricho Cotchery- borrowed money (think about it); Tyler Grisham- toughest decision I had to make: will he be able to beat out Arnaz Battle for the 53rd spot? Let's face it, Battle dropped the ball by, well, dropping the ball against Washington. Grisham can't go back on the PS, so I don't see him losing out in the battle with Battle.
Heath Miller- incredibly underrated TE; John Gilmore- better at blocking than at pass catching; Weslye Saunders- big and nasty with a mean streak, may just make the roster so that no one else can grab him off of the PS; David Johnson- makes roster mainly because he's fills the H-Back role so well.
Jonathan Scott- blindside; Chris Kemoeatu- if he keeps his head in the game...honestly, he's the best pulling guard in the league when he wants to be; Maurkice Pouncey- the anchor; Ramon Foster- solid at right guard; Willie Colon- I have a habit of calling him Willie Colon Cancer, but all I'm hearing is good things about him and he was impressive in the first preseason game; Doug Legursky- The Big Legursky; Keith Williams- two fights in Camp so far...he's got a mean streak: good; Marcus Gilbert- coming along slowly, but wasn't unimpressive in the Washington game; Tony Hills- where was this the last two years?
Aaron Smith- the unsung hero's last hurrah; Casey Hampton- looking solid as always; Brett Keisel- finally made a Pro Bowl last year; Evander Hood- Now the boys in the hood will pull ya card...; Cam Heyward- another lineman with a mean streak....and he's not afraid to use it; Chris Hoke- veteran player who can play multiple positions if needed.
Lamarr Woodley- expect bigger things this year from The Wood; James Farrior- blessed by Father Time; Lawrence Timmons- the mind boggles at what he could accomplish this year; James Harrison- "you got knocked the fu** out, man!; Sylvester Stevenson- not calling him a "beast" yet, but I've seen the fangs; Larry Foote- his swan song with the Steelers; Jason Worilds- better live up to my name, boy!; Chris Carter- all he does is catch touchd...oops, wrong Chris Carter...needs to gain weight, though.
Ike Taylor- Face me, Ike!; Bryant McFadden- hurt again, but has to be pushed out of the starting position; Keenan Lewis- please push BMac out of the starting position; Willian Gay- *sigh* Willie, Willie, Willie...you need to excel in the nickel because you ain't worth a dime at Corner; Crezdon Butler- could see time at safety at some point in the year; Curtis Brown- needs to step up and be ready for special teams and nickel duties; Ryan Clark- glad he didn't decide to change careers permanently and park cars for a living; Troy Polamalu- The Predator is the reigning DPOY, but he may start to decline from this point; Ryan Mundy- stepping up well, played very well on defense against Redskins; Will Allen- still a valuable backup safety.
Shaun Suisham (K)- I really wanna see ID; Dan Sepulveda (P)- he's running out of ACLs, but, then again, maybe he really is Robo-Punter; Greg Warren (LS)- he wears no. 60.
There you have it, my final 53-man roster for the Steelers this year. So, barring injuries, I won't be revising it. If I'm right, great. But if I'm wrong then the Tomlin really needs to pay better attention to me.