The Steelers cut down their roster to 53 on Tuesday, but by the way the roster is constructed, it seems very unlikely that it stays this way for long. With only four cornerbacks and four interior offensive linemen, the Steelers inevitably are at least scouting the waiver wire to see who they could potentially add to the rooms. While there is a bevy of names and candidates, who exactly could they likely take a swing at with the roster flexibility they may have?
CB Jimmy Moreland, Washington Football Team
If there is someone that the Steelers should be looking to add, consider Moreland at the top of the list. While he was waived/injured by the Washington Football Team due to a bruised knee, Moreland will likely be ready for week one. With his fiery, contagious style of play, Moreland lit up the field for Washington when he was asked to play over the last two seasons.
A former seventh-round pick out of James Madison, Moreland is known for two things. One, his ball skills. Moreland is the very definition of a ballhawk. He had 17 interceptions in college, and while that has not translated into ball production in the NFL just yet, Moreland has his track record to claim those ball skills. Moreland does not lose that often in coverage, and when he loses he loses badly. Luckily, those examples do not seem to be all that commonplace throughout his tape.
The second big trait is physicality and swagger. Moreland loves to hit and be the physical type of presence the Steelers have been looking for in the slot. His chirpiness and willingness to get up in the face of opposing wide receivers and play mind games is something this Steelers secondary frankly lacks at it stands. He could be a capable blitzer and help out in run support.
The only question for Moreland is if the Steelers can actually be awarded him via the waiver wire. He has a desirable skillset and could just as easily be claimed by another team higher up the waiver wire. However, putting in a claim seems to be a no-brainer.
OG Wes Martin, Washington Football Team
Yes, the Washington Football Team did get rid of two decent players. In this case, Wes Martin was a guy who has started 10 games over the last two seasons for the Washington Football Team. No matter how it is sliced, Martin is an experienced player with some pedigree in the cloth of the Washington Football Team. The Steelers also do not need a center and guard capable player off the waiver wire because they only have J.C. Hassenauer and potentially Rashaad Coward or B.J. Finney as capable players in that area.
Martin lacked balance and a consistent anchor in the trenches against more powerful pass rushers in the previous two seasons. However, this preseason was very promising for Martin. He seemed to have gotten stronger in core and his balance was much better. Even still, Martin seemingly fell out of favor with the regime, even after a solid preseason that showcased some growth.
The Steelers really just need a simple capable guy who has experience for depth. Martin still has upside as showcased by his preseason. The Steelers’ Pro Scouting Department should also be intrigued by the mean streak Martin carries, as that certainly carries with Adrian Klemm’s philosophy in the trenches. Either way, Martin is a solid option with starting experience who can play at either guard spot, so putting a claim in on him is not a bad idea at all.
CB Nate Hairston, Denver Broncos
The Broncos were unfairly deep at cornerback coming into the season, and it caused a pretty solid veteran with starting experience in Nate Hairston to get waived by the team. Hairston reportedly had a phenomenal camp and was perhaps the toughest cut on the entire team, but they kept rookie Kary Vincent Jr. due to his upside.
The thing with Hariston is he has the versatility to work both inside and outside at cornerback. Thus, it is not only a move to get some slot cornerback depth, but Hariston also has the capability to play outside in a pinch as well. Hairston’s best work may have been in the slot in 2017 with Indianapolis, however.
He is a physical edge setter who has the length to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. Hairston has plenty of experience working in heavy man coverage schemes that utilize two-high shells and single-high coverages. That is the very essence of Hairston as a fit with Pittsburgh. He has worked in similar schemes and has the versatility they will look for, and as such, the fit makes a lot of sense.
Other Potential Names
There were no safeties mentioned here, but the Steelers absolutely could look to add a safety. There are a number of names to look out for as a result of cuts. Players such as Karl Joseph, Adrian Colbert, Darian Thompson, and Shawn Williams could all be potential adds to the safety room with slot or free safety experience.
At the offensive line, a familiar face in Derwin Gray could be a potential fit with the Steelers once again. If the Steelers want to use Joe Haeg’s versatility on the inside, Tyrell Crosby would make sense to fit for tackle depth. The offensive line is, of course, a little thinner on the wire, because they are in such high demand.