September 1, 2019
Yesterday the entire National Football League had a day of putting men on the unemployment line in a mass number unlike any other business may conduct in a single day. It was NFL cut day.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers they like every other NFL team was forced to pare down the roster to 53 players with a practice squad announcement yet to come. Here are the cuts and my quick reaction beginning with the offense.
Devlin Hodges-Personally, I thought this kid should have got the nod over Joshua Dobbs but experience probably won the day for Dobbs. Word is that Hodges is headed for the practice squad and there is a chance IMO that some other team may grab Hodges as a third string backup.
Trey Edmunds-I think Edmonds is absolutely headed for that practice squad.
Travon McMillian and Malik Williams-Neither ever had a chance to make the team or even the practice team.
Trey Griffey-Griffey has a great story thanks to his family lineage but he lacks the talent.
Johnny Holton-Hilton made some nice catches in the preseason but the talent in front of him was too much to overcome.
Tevin Jones and Brandon Reilly-See McMillian and Williams above.
Eli Rogers-The biggest surprise cut on offense but Rogers just couldn’t reach the promising level he once showed and the arrival of rookie Diontae Johnson and improvement of James Washington was simply too much for Rogers to overcome. He will be on the practice squad but don’t be surprised if he is playing elsewhere in 2019.
Diontae Spencer-The men in front of him at the wide receiver position was just too much talent for Spencer to have any chance of making the team.
Micky Crum, Kevin Rader, and Trevor Wood-The Steelers never keep more than three tight ends so these young men never had a chance against the three that were kept on the roster.
Christian Scotland-Williamson-Another year of experimentation with the former professional rugby player failed again and while he has size, his lack of NFL or any other American football experience costs him again.
Garrett Brumfield, Derwin Gray, J.C. Hassanauer, Patrick Morris and Damian Prince-With one of the best offensive lines in the league, these linemen had no chance.
Marcus Allen, Dravon Askew-Henry, Marcelis Branch, Jhvonte Dean, P.J. Locke and Trevon Mathis-The Steelers secondary is looking as strong as it has been in a long time and with Artie Burns keeping his job none of the aforementioned did enough to force him off the team which was a concern at the start of training camp. With some of the best talent in the secondary in quite a while for Pittsburgh, these cuts may have been the easiest to make for Mike Tomlin and his secondary coaching staff.
Jayrone Elliott, Christian Kuntz, Tegray Scales, Sutton Smith and Robert Spillane-There was some chatter about Scales possibly making the team but as history repeats itself, the Steelers maintain what is probably the strongest part of their defense...the linebackers. Even facing another year without Ryan Shazier, look at the line backing corps:
It is probably the play of Gilbert that cost Scales a roster spot and Barron comes in from the Rams with experience and Super Bowl involvement. Bush is going to be an absolute stud. Skipper opened eyes in the preseason so it is highly anticipated to see what he can do in games that count.
Winston Craig, Greg Gilmore, Henry Mondeaux, Casey Sayles and Conor Sheehy-Next to the secondary, the defensive front may be an area that has drastically improved and added some great new talent. I heard great things about Tyson Alualu the other day on the radio about when he was playing in Jacksonville about how he applies great quarterback pressure and while he didn’t get a lot of sacks it was because he was keyed upon. The arrival of Buggs is the reason the final defensive line spot went to the rookie. Buggs also played at the University of Alabama and for current Steelers defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. Daniel McCullers is almost a repeat of Jamain Stephens for the Bill Cowherds era in that in my opinion he barely makes the roster year after year while coaches wait for him to reach the talent level expected of him.
Finally we have the special teams battles. It appears from the preseason that Chris Boswell has returned to form and that is great news for the Steelers so Matthew Wright loses out but he will find work elsewhere because he is that good. Perhaps because of a contract situation Jordan Berry kept his punting duties and he keeps Ian Berryman off the roster.
So heading into next Sunday night’s showdown in Foxboro on Football Night in America with the world champion Patriots here is your updated depth charts for the Steelers.