One day after cutting their roster down to the NFL-mandated limit of 53, the Pittsburgh Steelers filled out their preliminary practice squad.
Returning draftees are cornerback Shaquille Richardson and tight end Rob Blanchflower. These moves mean that all nine players taken in the 2014 NFL Draft return to the Steelers, with rookie linebacker Jordan Zumwalt having been placed on injured reserve last week.
The rest of the practice squad consists of defensive ends Josh Mauro and Nick Williams, wide receivers Derek Moye and C.J. Goodwin, outside linebacker Howard Jones, safety Ross Ventrone, running back Josh Harris and offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
Return for Arnflet and So’oto Not in the Cards
When the Steelers made their initial roster cuts, Brian Arnfelt and Vic So’oto were among the surprises. Brian Arnfelt had spent 14 games on the Steelers 2013 practice squad until getting activated for the final contests vs. Green Bay and Cleveland. Vic So’oto had surprised and impressed in training camp and preseason.
- There was speculation that the Steelers cut both men early to give them a better shot at sticking on with another team, and if not bring them back via the practice squad.
However, as of yet, neither has been signed by another NFL club, and the Steelers did not invite either back to the practice squad.
Additional Roster, Practice Squad Moves Possible
While the Steelers 2014 53 man roster is complete along with the practice squad, the compesition of both groups is almost certain to change.
First the Steelers will likely make their injured reserve designation, with 4th round pick Matvias Bryant the likely candidate. That would open one roster spot which the team could fill with someone on the practice squad and/or with another player.
It is also highly possible if not likely that the Steelers will seek to upgrade at punter, where Brad Wing displayed good hang time and little else during preseason. Landry Jones also failed to impress during preseason, and could find himself unemployed if the Steelers decide to add a new third string quarterback.
In addition, the Steelers depth at outside linebacker is terribly thin, while the offensive line has little proven depth.