The Steelers paired their roster down to the NFL’s 53 man limit on Saturday, and the list included a few surprises.
2006 third round pick wide receiver Willie Reid topped the list, followed by 2007 fourth round pick Ryan McBean. They also cut return specialist Eddie Drummond and punter Paul Ernster.
In addition they placed quarterback Charlie Batch on injured reserve ending, which will make him ineligible to return his year. As he is in the final year of his contract, he may have played his last game as a Steeler.
The Steelers also reached injury settlements with 2008 sixth round picks linebacker Mike Humpal and safety Ryan Mundy.
The other players waived by the Steelers
Patrick Bailey, linebacker
Billy Latsko, fullback
Doug Legursky, guard
Matt Lentz, guard
Roy Lewis, defensive back
Grant Mason, safety
Jeremy Parquet, offensive tackle
Scott Paxton, defensive tackle
Jordan Reffett, defensive end
Micah Rucker, defensive end
Dezmond Sherrod, tight end
Lee Vickers, tight end
Justin Vincent, running back
Travis Williams, corner back
Assuming that the Steelers do not pick up one off of the wavier wires, the Steelers will start the season with only have two tight ends on their 53-man roster, although Mike Tomlin situationally used offensive tackle Max Starks as a third tight end in 2007.
Willie Reid had been locked in an intense battle with 2007 7th round pick Dallas Baker for the 5th wide receiver spot. Reid had performed well during preseason, leading the team in catches, and many insiders felt he had the upper hand. But during the off season Mike Tomlin had praised Dallas’ Baker’s development, but qualifying his remarks with the caveat that Baker needed to perform well with pads on. Apparently, Baker looked good enough in pads.
Roy Lewis’ departure marks somewhat of a surprise, as he had both played well and shown an ability to play both corner and safety. Expect him to be resigned to the practice squad… assuming he clears waivers.
Today’s roster moves also confirm a rather disturbing trend of poor second-day drafting on the part of the Steelers. Stay tuned for further coverage of this issue.