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Thread: On the Steelers: 8 draft picks land on 53-man roster

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    Default On the Steelers: 8 draft picks land on 53-man roster

    On the Steelers: 8 draft picks land on 53-man roster

    Monday, September 06, 2010
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    The Steelers have their 53-man-roster-plus-one with three quarterbacks keeping the seat warm for Ben Roethlisberger during the next four games.

    Virtually no surprises accompanied their reduction from 75 to 53 over the weekend, even though a handful of veterans were waived as a new wave of young players hit their roster, including a 21st-century record of eight draft picks.

    A closer look at the fallout:

    • They kept their two rookie outside linebackers, Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson, the only backups on the outside after they released Patrick Bailey. Neither is ready to play the position after both converted from college defensive ends, so, if there is an injury, Lawrence Timmons would move outside, one reason they started him there Thursday night.

    • Scouting/drafting is not a science, as Chuck Noll often said. It is why third-round picks such as Kraig Urbik and Bruce Davis wash out so quickly. The Steelers are not the only ones making these "mistakes." It goes with the territory. Scouts and personnel men, however, should tone down their criticism of Mel Kiper for his various college player evaluations. His record is no worse than many teams doing the drafting, only he gets paid to offer his opinions about it.


    • Game: Steelers vs. Falcons, 1 p.m.

    • Where: Heinz Field.

    • TV: WPXI.

    Doug Legursky is living proof of the lack of science in drafting and scouting. He started 32 consecutive games at Marshall, virtually all at center, but was not drafted. The Steelers signed him as a rookie free agent in 2008 and released him before training camp. They signed him again Aug. 2, released him again, then signed him to the practice squad. He made the team last year as their backup center and made it again this weekend. He joined them the same time they drafted Urbik on the third round as their second overall pick in 2008.

    • In case you missed it, three Steelers with Super Bowl rings bit the dust in Washington when the Redskins cut Willie Parker, Tyrone Carter and Carey Davis.

    • Among those who should be signed to the practice squad is Frank Summers, but the coaches should re-think how they use him. Summers is not a blocking back, he's a runner, and the attempts to make him into a lead blocker did not go well. They should allow him to run. He did not have a carry this preseason while Justin Vincent had 11 carries and Dwayne Wright, who was waived on the first cut last week, had eight. As a rookie, Summers had three carries.

    • Once again, there is no true fullback on the roster, a job that will be split between Isaac Redman, a running back in college, and tight end David Johnson with possibly the occasional use of Legursky in short-yardage situations.

    • Few trades occur before the final cutdown, which is why center Justin Hartwig and his $2.08 million salary was released. He will play elsewhere, but not at that salary.

    • Keeping injured Byron Leftwich on the team means the Steelers have him in mind as their ultimate backup quarterback. He signed a new two-year contract after the Steelers acquired him in a trade with Tampa Bay.

    • Tackle Tony Hills raised his play tremendously from the start of training camp, convincing them to keep him on the roster as the backup to Max Starks on the left side.

    • The Steelers have six wide receivers on their roster and, if they decide to use rookie Antonio Brown as their return man, it is likely all six will dress for games. They've dressed as few as four wide receivers in the past.

    • Coordinator Bruce Arians has returned the "pony" backfield to his playbook. He wanted to try it in 2008 with Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall but that idea went out the window with Mendenhall's injury, and then Arians abandoned the idea last season. He used a lot of it this summer with Mendenhall and Redman, and it seems to be viable because Redman can block as well as run.

    • Anthony Madison, all 5-foot-9, 180 pounds of him, made the team. It shows that, even though they released Patrick Bailey, the Steelers are serious about improving their special-teams play. Same for keeping veteran special teamer Arnaz Battle instead of the Wes Welker-like young receiver Tyler Grisham.

    • The final roster cuts won't be final until later in the week, at least as they pertain to the opener. James Harrison made the "final" roster in 2003 but was released two days later so they could sign someone else.

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    Default Re: On the Steelers: 8 draft picks land on 53-man roster

    Rookie Overload

    By Jim Wexell
    Posted Sep 4, 2010

    PITTSBURGH – After Saturday's cuts, the Steelers have eight draft picks on the team, the most during Kevin Colbert’s 11-year reign as director of football operations. ...

    The Steelers were able to keep all of their picks except seventh-rounder Doug Worthington, a defensive end who could be called back to the practice squad by the start of next week.

    Worthington, or any other player eligible for the practice squad, must first clear league waivers. They then have the option to choose from among interested teams.

    The Steelers also have a ninth draft pick, offensive tackle Chris Scott, on the Physically Unable to Perform list for at least the next six weeks.

    Coach Mike Tomlin kept those rookies and was still able to keep injured quarterback Byron Leftwich, along with Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch.

    Suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t count among the roster count.

    Those cut Saturday were: LB Patrick Bailey, CB Joe Burnett, S Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith, WR Tyler Grisham, DE Sunny Harris, C Justin Hartwig, KR Stefan Logan, NT Steve McLendon, RB Frank Summers, OG Kraig Urbik, and Worthington.

    Cut Friday were: TE Eugene Bright, OG Dorian Brooks, OT Kyle Jolly, WR Brandon London, TE Sean McHugh, DT Scott Paxson, LS Matt Stewart, S Justin Thornton, RB Justin Vincent, and LB Renauld Williams.

    The only starter from last season’s team to be cut was Hartwig, who lost his roster spot to first-round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey and swing backup Doug Legursky.

    Logan was the only other role player cut. Last season’s kick returner lost his job, most likely, to rookie WR Antonio Brown.

    The other rookies to make the team are OLB Jason Worilds, WR Emmanuel Sanders, OLB Thaddeus Gibson, CB Crezdon Butler, ILB Stevenson Sylvester, and RB Jonathan Dwyer.

    Aside from the three quarterbacks, the Steelers’ 53-man roster includes four running backs, three tight ends, six wide receivers, nine offensive linemen, six defensive linemen, nine linebackers, 10 defensive backs, a punter, a long-snapper and a kicker. Included in that group are two legitimate punt gunners, CB Anthony Madison and WR Arnaz Battle.

    The Steelers begin preparations Monday for their opener Sept. 12 against the visiting Atlanta Falcons.

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    Default Re: On the Steelers: 8 draft picks land on 53-man roster

    Kudos to the front office for doing a great job with the draft this year. Quite a few of these rookies should be able to make a contribution to the team this year.
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