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Monday, August 18, 2008

My 53-man roster

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.


adamg said...

I really can't see Humpal making the team. Like Fiala and Kriewaldt before him, he's just not good enough to step in if he actually would have to play LB. Not keeping him would allow the Steelers to keep Batch, another DL or DB.

Todd said...

no love for willie reid? Dallas Baker can be put on the PS for another year, Reid cannot. Keep in mind that we need a replacement for Nate after this year, and I believe Dallas Baker is the same player. Having Baker and Nate on the roster seems redundant, whereas Reid adds a different dimension.

As for cb, I see Madison making it over Roy Lewis. It doesnt matter much that your 5th corner can play safety if you already have two corners who can play safety in Gay and Townsend, and already have guys like A. Smith who can play both safety spots. The guy would never see the field, so his versatility doesnt do any good on the bench. What is useful is that Madison is a ST demon in the mold of Chidi, and our 5th corner is gonna see the field a lot more on ST than he will at safety, or DB at all for that matter. I think you go for ST ability with the late guys on the roster.

I also see no reason why Humpal makes the team.

Dale Lolley said...

Humpal makes it solely as a special teams player. He wouldn't be asked to step in unless they have three injuries at inside linebacker. But they need special teams players and that's what he was drafted for.

Lewis is a better special teams player than Madison in my opinion. And Madison can't play corner at all. He's just way too small.

Anonymous said...

"Lewis bumps Anthony Madison and Travis Davis because he can also play safety."

Heads up. Travis Davis hasn't been on a Steeler roster in about a decade. Welcome to planet earth.

Dale Lolley said...

My bad, Travis Williams was who I meant. But he would really, really bump Travis Davis.

adamg said...

Dale, the Steelers have other LBs who can play both ST and do a credible job if they have to play LB. In today's NFL, teams can't afford to carry one dimensional players like Humpal. Plus he's had about 3 stingers so far which doesn't bode well.

Dale Lolley said...

The former QB from Ok. State, Woods, has some ability, but he may be somebody who needs to go to the practice squad for a year.
I don't know where everyone is saying Humpal is a one-dimensional guy. He looked good in coverage in camp when he's been out there. He can run. Kid was a hurdles champion in high school.

Alex said...

I don't see the point of putting Hills on this roster. Put him on the practice squad, no way someone takes him and he wont help us AT ALL this year.

Liguori said...

I agree with you Alex. I personally think that Hills will be stashed on the practice squad and given a chance to develop there. We can always activate him if someone shows interest in him, although I think he'll be safe there.

I think we'll keep a Return Specialist in his place.

adamg said...

Dale, while I personally wouldn't keep Humpal on the roster, I agree he'll make it because he was drafted. Teams are reluctant to admit they might have made a mistake, so most draftees stick, if only for a year.

But, to me, when a player is compared to Fiala and Kriewaldt, that's not a compliment. It's nice Humpal was a HS hurdles champ, but I'm sure every player on the roster is athletically gifted and were prep stars.

Charles said...

So does McBean make it to the practice squad or do they finally give up on him?

Dale Lolley said...

I think they'll PS McBean.
Hills will make the final roster. Make book on that.
They've cut draft picks in recent years, but only when they've had somebody who's better. I don't see anybody who is head and shoulders better than Humpal.
As for Fiala and Kriewaldt, you're talking about two guys who combined to play about 15 years in the NFL. They're backups. Every team needs backups, believe it or not. And no, not all of them are viewed as starters in waiting. Sometimes teams will draft guys based solely on how on their ability to play special teams.

ch3 said...

Not sure why so much Humpal bashing? Kid is pretty good in coverage. He had six interceptions in his last two years at Iowa and had a ton of tackles. He also made some good plays on STs in the first pre-season game. Give the kid some time.

Patrick said...


I agree 100% with this. Which unfortunately means that it's doomed to be wrong by at least 2 players if past performance is any indicator.

Why would Batch be released vs. IR? as a courtesy to him or would Dixon be looking like # 2 next year?

Tom said...

Dale, excellent blog im a regular reader, keep it up. I heard Martavius Prince looked decent during camp, and chance the Steelers keep this guy in any capacity? We're in dire need of a youthful injection on the DL.

Patrick said...

Hills wouldn't pass waivers. If they try to send him to the PS, he's gone. Hard to see them do that with a 4th-rounder.

I don't really see Carter getting cut; our starting safeties are apparently made of glass and balsa wood, and other than them only Smith and Carter have real experience. When was the last time someone who started all preseason didn't even make the roster?

Humpal, Mundy, and McBean could all probably make it to the PS. Strangely, each has a ST argument for making the team.

Anonymous said...

I think Reid makes it over Baker. Reid has shown more as a receiver, at least in my eyes, and does have some value as a returner.

deljzc said...

It's not that encouraging to me as a fan to know Hills, Mundy, Davis and Humpal are probably all making the team solely becuase of their draft status and not for their play on the field to date. Was hoping this day 2 was better, but it seems same-old to me.

Is it possible they try to put Stapleton on the practice squad since Mahan could backup the center/guard spot on game days?

Dale Lolley said...

Prince has looked good, but he's a guy they could probably get to the practice squad. He's worked strictly on the nose, where they have Hampton and Hoke. It will come down to Prince or Scott Paxson.

Hills is apparently starting to look a little better, Maybe he's getting his feet under him.

They've worked Townsend and Gay at free safety as well as Roy Lewis, so they have some flexibility there.

Willie Reid does nothing for me. He's failed as a return man and has never been able to stay healthy.
Hard to believe Cowher wanted him as a first-rounder.

They didn't want to expose Stapleton to the PS last year and really haven't added anyone to the mix other than Hartwig.

patrick2 said...

"It's not that encouraging to me as a fan to know Hills, Mundy, Davis and Humpal are probably all making the team solely becuase of their draft status and not for their play on the field to date."

Mundy and Humpal will not '[make] the team solely because of draft status'. If the coaches don't think they can contribute, they'll get sent to the PS. They send 5th-7th rounders to PS all the time.

Hills is a different issue. Without the injury, he could have been a first rounder (assuming a good combine), given the run on OTs. It's possible that he still isn't fully recovered from breaking his leg 9 months ago, and there's certainly a lot of upside the team might see.

Really, if they didn't think Hills had a good chance to help the team down the line, he'd be an easy cut. It's the unpopular picks that are probably difficult to cut right away; take a punter in the 4th, say, and cut him after camp and they'd hear absolute hell. But everyone wanted us to be taking o-line; if we do, and he isn't good and gets cut, you don't expect a big outcry.