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Monday, June 01, 2009

An early, early, early look at the 53-man roster

OK, you asked for it, so here it is, an early, early, early look at the 53-man roster.

QB (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon. No explanation needed here.

RB (5): Willie Parker, Mewelde Moore, Rashard Mendenhall, Frank Summers, Carey Davis. Davis makes it on his ability to play special teams.

WR (5): Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Shaun McDonald, Limas Sweed, Mike Wallace. Sorry Dallas Baker. You're not making this club. McDonald beats out Brandon Williams.

TE (3): Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Sean McHugh. No surprises here. David Johnson goes to the practice squad.

OL (10): Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Justin Hartwig, Darnell Stapleton, Wilie Colon, Trai Essex, Tony Hills, Ramon Foster, Kraig Urbik, A.Q. Shipley. Just a hunch here between Foster and Capizzi, but they won't want to risk putting Foster on the practice squad.

DL (7): Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Chris Hoke, Ziggy Hood, Travis Kirschke, Nick Eason. Again, no real surprises here.

LB (8): James Harrison, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Bruce Davis, Patrick Bailey, Keyaron Fox, Donovan Woods. Woods is kind of the surprise here. I think he sticks because he can play inside, even though they currently list him as an outside guy. Bruce Davis needs to have a good camp. Bailey is a very good special teams player as is Fox. Fox will be the top backup inside.

DB (9): Ike Taylor, William Gay, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Deshea Townsend, Keiwan Ratliff, Joe Burnett, Keenan Lewis, Ryan Mundy. This is a tough position to call. I see Tyrone Carter as the odd man out right now, with Deshea Townsend making the move to a safety/corner position.

Specialists (3): Jeff Reed, Daniel Sepulveda, Greg Warren.


Wedgebuster said...

i could live with this group

Vaflyer said...

Pretty nice to see 7 of the 9 draft picks making the roster, plus a UFA signing. I honestly think we had a very good draft, meeting positional needs and depth. Funny, that roster is only 2-3 players different than what I came up with.

kyle said...

i've been trying to decide if Frazier and A.Harrison were going to make the club. i would hedge on the side of your picks though. thanks for the list

Anonymous said...

So does this list mean you think Limas Sweed will not win the #3 job because you have him listed behind mcdonald.

Viz-Burgh said...

Building off of Kyle's comments, at this point I don't see both Arnold Harrison & Andre Frazier getting cut. They're both good STs players and would be the top backups at OLB until Bruce Davis shows enough to actually dress on game day. I guess you could say that Timmons could be the backup OLB, but since he's a starter now on the inside, you'd be changing two positions instead of one to put him there.

I know this is early & one man's guess which is fine. Maybe Bruce Davis will have an outstanding camp & show he's ready to be the top reserve OLB. But until that happens Frazier and Harrison are light years ahead of him in the system & in production, both on the defense and on STs.

This is going to be a tough roster to make, especially at DB. Guys like Anthony Madison, Fernando Bryant, and Ty Carter not being listed proves that. Add last year's camp phenom Roy Lewis to the list & there's a lot of competition for a few spots.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is that we have tons of competition at every spot except the ones where we really need them AKA tackle. Starks and Colon can coast through camp with NO FEAR that anyone will challenge them for their spot. Its just not gonna happen.

datruth4life said...

Dale, I pretty much agree with you except two changes:

Subtract: FB Carey Davis & RT Ramone Foster

Additions: LT/RT Jason Capizzi & either LB A. Frazier, special teams ace A. Madison, or H-Back/TE/FB A. Johnson.

No need for Carey Davis. McHugh and A. Johnson can block at the FB position or catch passes, the Tank and A. Johnson can play special teams.

I see A. Frazier or A. Madison making this team. Tough to cut your no. 1 special teams tackler (unless the rookies can take over the gunner positions on the punt team as well as become standout tacklers on kickoffs). Also A. Frazier, knows the D in and out and is a good special teams player as well.

If Woodley or A. Harrison goes down, I don't know if they trust B. Davis, Woods or Bailey to fill in on the base defense. A. Frazier is a security blanket for LeBeau, can rush the passer and is a good special teams player.

Foster might be for the future, but you could very well have to depend on Capizzi THIS year. However, if Capizzi (who will be 3 years kicking around the league & can play LT & RT) can't beat out a rookie free agent like Foster (who only plays RT), then he just needs to hang it up and get on with his next line of work.

Thanks for taking my advice and posting this. Now watch the responses grow. Take care.

Skinley said...

What's the latest with Sepulveda? I am hoping we get him back soon.

Anonymous said...

Yeah a healthy Sepulveda actually kicking the ball would be nice to see. ST is one area we could see HUGE improvement if he is healthy and Wallace contributes.

Anonymous said...

Hard to argue with Dale, but I hate to see us lose Madison and Frazier (if Davis doesn't show he's ready to go.)

My guesses for who goes instead:
Carey Davis, Bruce Davis, Shipley and/or Foster.

It is going to be real interesting! Thanks for taking the time.

Anonymous said...

If Davis can't even make the roster in he second year he our biggest bust in a long time. Even Anthony Smith and Willie Reid made it longer than that.

Dale Lolley said...

Hey, it was a best guess at this point based on what I think is going to happen. I had a tough time cutting at linebacker and DB.
I actually like Arnold Harrison better than Andre Frazier - though both are solid backups and would stick somewhere else if cut.
Anthony Madison is a nice kid and great special teams player, but Lewis is a high draft pick who should be able to cover kicks and I think Burnett will be the return guy.
I can't bring myself to cut Deshea Townsend - he's like another coach out there - though maybe he's starting to break down physically and that could be a deciding factor.
As for Bruce Davis, I'm projecting here that he'll make the jump when they put the big boy pads on.

datruth4life said...


It's all about the more you can do, right? Thanks again.

Ed said...

Unrelated but not sure where else to put this. Hines Ward hosted a Celebrity Car Wash here in Atlanta this past Saturday. I took my 10yr old son and we had a great time. There both current and ex-Steeler players there. We saw Ward, Bettis, Farrior, Woodley, Hampton, Batch, Gay, Townsend, Dixon, McFadden and Hope. Everyone was great. The signed just about anything and took pictures with fans. I have to say that Townsend and Farrior are definitely 2 of the nicest guys I have ever met. Farrior came out on his own to sign things and meet the fans rather than sit at the designated table. Really great guy.

Anonymous said...

I like it. Good call finally dropping Baker.

I don't mind C. Davis on special teams, but I hope he doesn't see a down of offense this season.

DB is very tough. I agree with finally cutting T. Carter to make room for Mundy, but I am surprised I don't see Madison on this list. If Burnett is really the best punt returner on the team, then keep him. But if not I have to go with ST Ace Madison. And if Burnett and Ratliff really are both too good to let go, then keep 10 DBs and boot Carey Davis.

My only question was already asked. How is Sepulveda? Will he play week one against the Titans?

Ben said...

Dale, if Frank the Tank can play special teams -- we've all seen the video of him kicking off and destroying the returner -- does Carey Davis get cut? I remember reading quotes from Summers expressing his willingness to play special teams, even going as far as to say he enjoyed it.

The kid seems to like hitting people -- whether he's a pounding halfback, a blocking fullback, or playing kick coverage. My understanding of playing as a blocking back is that it is more about willingness and less about technique. This kid looks ready, and willing, to hit some people - hard.

If he pans out as a short-yardage back, fullback, and special teamer, there doesn't seem to be a place on the team for Davis.

Anonymous said...

just a few quick questions Do the Steelers view Foster as A rt only and do they view him as a Guard.My other Question Is Capizzi viewd as Only a Rt or could he move to LT also.

Dale Lolley said...

The assistant coaches are pretty much off limits at this point, so it's tough to answer some of those questions about where they see young guys.
Sepulveda seems to be on schedule, but he hasn't done much to this point.
I do think it's somewhat telling that they signed a veteran punter rather than a rookie.
That said, I would expect him to be fine.

Anonymous said...

Arnold Harrison was dominant on special teams before getting hurt last preseason. I could see him making the team over Bailey or Woods

and Roy Lewis could make the team

Steeler fan from the 70s said...

I have the same concerns that a few of the other posters have mentioned:

- The team is light at backup OLB. I would expect one of Frazier or Harrison to make it. If Bruce Davis really turns it on this preseason, then it makes them expendable. As a Steeler fan, I hope this is the case. But I doubt it. Hope I'm wrong about him.

- The team is also light at backup safety. Mundy (or Roy Lewis) will have to show that he's capable of stepping onto the field during the regular season. Until then, this leaves the door ajar for Tyrone Carter. This goes out the window if they really think Deshea can fill in at backup safety, which I doubt.

- I don't see Frank Summers and Carey Davis making the roster. They are redundant.

- This team is stacked with ST players, quite a change from two seasons ago. This works against Davis, Madison and a couple others.

- I could see Shipley going to the practice squad.

Appreciate the effort Dale.

Bupp said...

Frank Summers and Carey Davis are not neccasarily redundant. With Gary Russell being released, that leaves a spot for Summers to be plugged into.

Dale Lolley said...

Given Hartwig's contract situation, they may not want to risk putting Shipley on the PS if he looks good. They did that with Hank Fraley and got burned.

I agree about the outside linebacker position, but somebody had to go and somebody had to stay.

I haven't seen Summers play special teams yet, though I'm assuming he can do it. That could be where the extra spot comes from.

datruth4life said...


Any follow-up news on C/G LaCharles Bentley & just released Lions RT George Foster showing up at Steelers headquarters on the Southside today?

Seems like Tomlin is really taking this competition thing to the limit.

datruth4life said...


Just found out that the Bentley & Foster stuff was just a friend horsing around, nothing concrete. Sorry about that.

Steeler fan from the 70s said...

In response to Bupp,

I admit that I'm projecting and we'll know more once the pads go on and preseason starts.

But I really don't think that Carey Davis does anything that Summers could not do:

Davis plays ST. I project that Summers can do so as well or better. I say this solely based upon seeing some highlight clips of him, and noting his love of contact.

Davis is okay at catching the ball out of the backfield. Summers supposedly displayed this ability in college and his pro day where Steelers rb coach Kirby Wilson worked him out.

Davis is a marginal lead blocker at FB. I could see Summers performing at this level, again just based on his body type and love of contact. And even if Summers can't do this, Mchugh could. In fact, I thought Mchugh was a better lead blocker than Davis in two back sets.

Maybe I'm wrong. I am just speculating of course. But just trying to explain my POV.

Steeler fan from the 70s said...

I wonder if the Steelers view Stapleton as their future center.

Vaflyer said...

Davis and Summers are only redundant if everyone stays healthy. If you cut one of them, and then they go elsewhere and the remaining player gets hurt....then what do you do? If we can carry both, put them BOTH out on special teams.

I also expect Bruce Davis to take a HUGE step in his development this year. Woodley is helping him, and I think Davis WANTS this. He made a big switch last year to LB from DE, plus he had to learn a very complicated playbook. I honestly think he will be fine.

Steeler fan from the 70s said...


This team looks to be loaded with special teams players. This isn't two years ago when Clint Kriewaldt was our heralded special teams player.

The team barely utilizes a FB as it is. It makes no sense to keep a backup at that position. For example, who was Carey Davis' backup last year? Nobody.

Anonymous said...

I think the Steelers really like Summers and he will force Carey Davis off the roster. We can't cut a useful LB or DB to make room for a fb who is made obselete by Summers/Mchugh.

BoJangles said...

I would be HUGELY disappointed if Madison doesn't make the team. He along w/ Fox spearhead our coverage units.

Cajunyankee said...

Dale, Thanks for the inside stuff...LOVE IT!!! You Mentioned in another post the Steelers were doing some 4-3 work....can anyone be surprised with this? I been saying they have used it and will continue to do so and maybe use it a little more this year with the addition of Ziggy. That's not the only reason reason of course. After looking at your very very early 53 projections I must say for the 1st time EVER I'm disappointed in you....just kidding. A good 3-4 committed defense needs at least 9-10 and preferrable 10 LBers. You listed only 8. You also short-changed our DL with only 7. You got 9 for DB's and I agree with that # but would replace Burnett with Madison. Taylor/Gay/Clark/Polamalu/Townsend are locks. Ratliff and Madison are needed for depth. Mundy makes the team for safety depth and youth infusion for the future. K. Lewis makes it due to if he's on the PS he'll be gone quickly.
LBers. Here's what I see.. LOLB are Woodley and A. Harrison. They have always liked Arnold and he's been good on ST too. Downside is he has had two seasons ended with knee injuries. LILB are Farrior and Fox. RILB are Timmons and Woods.We are thin at ILBers and Woods ST play coupled with them working him inside now keeps him on the 53. (If Farrior suffers a season ending blow watch us move to a 4-3 quickly with Timmons as the "mike"..) .. ROLBers are James H. and Frazier. Frazier is good on ST and much better @ OLB than both Bailey or Davis. Camp battle will determine between these two who makes 53 and who goes PS.
DL I agree with you but with one exception. They will carry 8 so look for Paxson or Reffett to make the 53 also.
OL you have us carrying 10... I see 9 at best and most likely 8.. Starks Kemo Hartwig Stapleton Colon Essex are Locks, Urbik becuase he's the future and will be gone if placed on the PS. Shipley probably makes it as center/guard back-up.Camp battle between Capizzi and Hills determine final OL roster spot.

Dale Lolley said...

Cajun, you can't just look at this season, but look at what they have signed for the future at some positions as well.
Right now, both tackles and the center will be free agents at the end of next season. They won't short themselves on the offensive line because of it.
The linebackers are all signed.