After the Steelers make their final cuts to get down to a 53-man roster on Tuesday afternoon, 16 of those players that had one foot out the door will get an invite to return as a member of the team’s practice squad.
Those players must first clear NFL waivers, but after that, the Steelers can add back a good amount of depth, and with the rules put in place for the 2020 season back once again, up to two practice squad players can be elevated to the active roster each game day without having to again clear waivers to return.
That means that not only will the 16-man practice squad help the Steelers get better during the week, they’ll be able to show off their personal improvement on Sundays, as well.
Who will the 16 players be? Based on our 53-man roster prediction, here’s our best guess at the 16 players that will be invited to stick around the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex this fall.
QB: Josh Dobbs
Dobbs might actually end up on the injured reserve, depending on the severity of his turf toe injury suffered at Carolina on Friday. If he’s healthy, the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger love having him around and with Roethlisberger usually taking at least one day of practice off per week, having an extra body around isn’t a bad idea.
RB: Trey Edmunds
I have Jaylen Samuels being cut as well, and he’d be a superior option, but I’ll guess he gets picked up elsewhere. Seems like a change of scenery could be good for him. On the other hand, Edmunds seems to like playing in Pittsburgh with his brother and can back up the running back and fullback positions.
WR: Anthony Johnson, Mathew Sexton, Cody White
All three players bring something different to the wide receivers position, and with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington entering the final seasons of their contract, it’s prudent for the Steelers to cast a wide net in beginning to look for potential replacements.
TE: Kevin Rader
Rader was one of the toughest cuts to get to 53 men, and the Steelers will probably have to sweat out his waiver wire process a bit, but I think he makes it through to the practice squad for a third straight season.
OL: B.J. Finney, John Leglue, Chaz Green
Finney and Green are vets that may or may not want to be here, but Leglue can play all five spots, Finney can play center and guard and Green plays both tackles. That’s enough backups for me.
DL: Henry Mondeaux
Mondeaux has been a special teams regular for the Steeles and should be a prime candidate for weekly elevation from the practice squad in order to fill that role on some game days, especially while Stephon Tuitt is at less than full health.
OLB: Jamir Jones, Quincy Roche
Two more players that really could have made the 53-man roster, especially Jones, and with the Steelers’ history of producing edge rushers, could easily be poached. If they aren’t, they’ll be prime weapons on the squad.
ILB: Ulysees Gilbert III
Gilbert was the odd man out of a deep group of borderline inside linebackers, and would make sense as a practice squad add, though he may seek an opportunity elsewhere.
CB: Mark Gilbert
Gilbert has the potential to be a starter at outside corner, even if he didn’t get a ton of chances to show it this preseason. A redshirt stash on the practice squad could go a long way.
S: Donovan Stiner
Stiner has an outside shot at sneaking onto the 53-man roster, and if not, should be a near-lock for the practice squad, with solid play and potential as a special teams contributor.
LS: Christian Kuntz
Kuntz has gotten a very long look at long snapper and can also play a scout team linebacker. That’s enough for the local guy to stick around.