NFL teams have another 10 days or so before they have to get down to their 53-man roster, but with training camp finished, I’m ready to trim the Steelers’ roster now. Here’s what I’m coming up with.
QBs: (3) Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon. The Steelers will wait as long as they can before releasing Charlie Batch, but it will probably happen.
RBs: (5) Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, Mewelde Moore, Carey Davis and Gary Russell. This is pretty much a no-brainer position.
WR: (5) Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Limas Sweed and Dallas Baker. It was once assumed Eddie Drummond would make this team and he still could. Baker is clearly on the bubble and needs to show something on special teams or Drummond could send him to the practice squad.
TE:: (3) Heath Miller, Matt Speath and Cody Boyd. This is a tough call because all of the guys vying for the third spot have been banged up with the exception of Lee Vickers, who was only signed Saturday. Vickers could beat Boyd out, particuarly if Boyd is unable to play Saturday at Minnesota with a lingering shoulder problem.
OL: (10) Marvel Smith, Chris Kemoeatu, Justin Hartwig, Kendall Simmons, Willie Colon, Max Starks, Trai Essex, Sean Mahan, Darnell Stapleton, Tony Hills. Hills is the only tough call here. He doesn’t deserve to make the roster based on play, but the team has to have an eye on the future.
DL: (6) Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Travis Kirschke, Chris Hoke, Orpheus Roye. This assumes Roye has anything left in the tank. And Nick Eason could actually beat out Kirschke, though I doubt it. Scott Paxson has one more year on the practice squad.
LB: (9) James Harrison, James Farrior, Larry Foote, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, Keyaron Fox, Arnold Harrison, Mike Humpal and Bruce Davis. Humpal has been banged up a lot and Davis makes the team because of his draft status. It’s a tough call between Harrison, Andre Frazier and Donovan Woods for what will be a special teams position. Woods could open some eyes Saturday.
DB: (9) Ike Taylor, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Deshea Townsend, Bryant McFadden, Anthony Smith, William Gay, Ryan Mundy and Roy Lewis. Tyrone Carter spent all of training camp at strong safety with Polamalu out, but he is just so limited because of his lack of size. Lewis bumps Anthony Madison and Travis Williams because he can also play safety.
Specialists: (3) Jeff Reed, Mitch Berger, Greg Warren. Berger beats out Paul Ernster, but the team could still sign somebody else to punt depending on who’s released in the next two weeks.