Cut down day in the NFL is never wracking experience. Players who’ve fought their hearts out during rookie tryouts, mini-camps, training camp, and in the 3rd and 4th quarters of increasingly (and often undeservedly) maligned preseason games await news on whether their NFL dreams come true. It’s a grueling process players endure in Pittsburgh and the other 31 NFL cities.
- The experience is far from stress free for Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert.
Their work continues after they cut down to the NFL’s 53 man limit. Colbert and Tomlin must simultaneously scan the waiver wire for cast offs — seeking the someone else’s veritable square peg to fit inside Pittsburgh’s round hole.
- Cynical fans might write off this effort employing the logic of “…but if no one else wanted them, how good can they be?”
And some times those cynics are correct. The Steelers picked up DeMarcus Van Dyke in 2013 and in two seasons DeMarcus Van Dyke did nothing to dispel his status as a roster bubble baby. But then there is Cody Wallace, whom Kevin Colbert also salvaged from the NFL scrap heap in 2013. Cody Wallace has made 20 starts a center since then and two at guard.
But Tomlin and Colbert search for the Cody Wallaces of the world do so with fingers crossed, hoping that players who they wish to bring back via the practice squad don’t find homes elsewhere. If the early reports are correct, the Steelers got back everyone they were reportedly wanted back.
Keep in mind that the composition of the Steelers practice squad could very well fluctuate between now and the season opener.
At the moment, the Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 practice squad looks like this:
Brandon Brown-Dukes, running back
Cameron Stingily, running back
Demarcus Ayers, 7th round draft pick, wide receiver
Cobi Hamilton, wide receiver
Rashaun Allen, tight end
Matt Feiler, offensive tackle
Caushaud Lyons, defensive end
Johnny Maxey, defensive tackle
Al-Hajj Shabazz, cornerback
Travis Feeney, 6th round pick, linebacker
Tweaks to the Steelers 2016 53 roster will dive changes to the Steelers 2016 practice squad. Tight end represents the Steelers greatest weakness and the Steelers could easily add another tight end, likely signaling a return to the practice squad by Xavier Grimble.
The Steelers undoubtedly are looking at cornerback who’ve been cut, which would cost another player his roster spot, and likely land him on the practice squad.