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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Final 2014 Depth Chart

Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers' Final 2014 Depth Chart

Pittsburgh Steelers Helmet
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After a 20-16 loss to the New York Giants in their first preseason game, the Pittsburgh Steelers are starting to take the final steps in finalizing their 53-man roster for the 2014 season. Here’s a look at what the Steelers’ final depth chart could look like going into the season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

Quarterbacks (3)

Ben Roethlisberger Mike Tomlin
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterbacks (3)

Ben Roethlisberger Mike Tomlin
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger
Bruce Gradkowski
Landry Jones

Roethlisberger is coming off of a rare season in which he played in every game, only the second time that the two-time Super Bowl champion hasn’t missed any time. Big Ben continues to be one of the most underappreciated QBs in the league, and should continue his steady play again in 2014. Gradkowski has a firm grip on the backup job, so don’t expect to see Jones outside of preseason action.

Running Backs (3) & Fullbacks (1)

Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs (3) & Fullbacks (1)

Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Le'Veon Bell
LeGarrette Blount
Dri Archer
Will Johnson (FB)

After missing the first three games due to injury, Bell played extremely well down the stretch. He enters 2014 as Pittsburgh’s unquestioned No. 1 running back. Blount played well in backup duty with the Patriots last year and should continue in that role with the Steelers. Archer will look to fill a Dexter McCluster-like role due to his elite speed.

Wide Receivers (6)

Antonio Brown Preseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receivers (6)

Antonio Brown Preseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown
Markus Wheaton
Lance Moore
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Derek Moye
Justin Brown

On a franchise with a history of great receivers, Brown had one of the best seasons ever, catching 110 passes and setting a franchise record with 1,499 yards. The Steelers lost Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, so depth could be an issue. Wheaton will look to bounce back from an injury-plagued rookie year. Moore and Heyward-Bey will be interesting.

Tight Ends (3)

Heath Miller Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Tight Ends (3)

Heath Miller Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Heath Miller
Matt Spaeth
Michael Palmer

This position was absolutely ravaged by injuries in 2013, so much so that the Steelers often used an extra tackle in lieu of a tight end. Miller did look good near the end of the season, however, and will once again serve as Roethlisberger’s safety blanket. Spaeth and Palmer both saw minimal action last year and probably won’t contribute much this year either.

Offensive Linemen (10)

Maurkice Pouncey Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Linemen (10)

Maurkice Pouncey Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

LT: Kelvin Beachum, Mike Adams
LG: Ramon Foster, Chris Hubbard
C: Maurkice Pouncey, Cody Wallace
RG: David DeCastro, Bryant Browning
RT: Marcus Gilbert, Guy Whimper

This unit was hit hard when Pouncey was lost for the season on the year’s opening drive. When healthy, there aren’t many better. The left tackle spot is a concern, as neither Adams nor Beachum instills a lot of confidence. DeCastro looks like a building block at right guard.

Defensive Linemen (6)

Cameron Heyward Pittsburgh Steelers
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Linemen (6)

Cameron Heyward Pittsburgh Steelers
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

LDE: Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt
NT: Steve McLendon, Hebron Fangupo
RDE: Cam Thomas, Brian Arnfelt

This group will look a lot different without longtime anchor Brett Keisel around anymore. Heyward is now the clear-cut best player on this unit because both the depth and talent leaves something to be desired. Tuitt looks like a keeper, and Thomas and Fangupo could surprise, but this group is not like the Steelers’ D-Lines’ of old.

Linebackers (8)

Ryan Shazier Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Linebackers (8)

Ryan Shazier Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

LOLB: Jason Worilds, Chris Carter
LILB: Ryan Shazier, Vince Williams
RILB: Lawrence Timmons, Terence Garvin
ROLB: Jarvis Jones, Arthur Moats

Worilds had his best season in 2013, Timmons was again quietly productive, and Jones showed promise as a rookie. But the best of the bunch may be Shazier, who will be given the rare opportunity to start as a rookie in a Dick LeBeau defense. Shazier looks like he could be the next great Pittsburgh LB.

Defensive Backs (10)

Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers-Training Camp
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs (10)

Troy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers-Training Camp
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

CB: Cortez Allen, Ike Taylor, William Gay, Brice McCain, Antwon Blake, Isaiah Green
FS: Mike Mitchell, Will Allen
SS: Troy Polamalu, Shamarko Thomas

Polamalu is not the player he once was, but his presence alone elevates this unit. Mitchell was brought in as an upgrade over the departed Ryan Clark. The CB play wasn’t great in 2013, with the usually reliable Taylor struggling in particular. Allen was inconsistent, but should be the No. 1.

Special Teams (3)

Shaun Suisham Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams (3)

Shaun Suisham Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

K: Shaun Suisham
P: Adam Podlesh
LS: Greg Warren

Suisham was mostly excellent in 2013, going 30-for-32 on field goals for the season. But those two misses, both short and both in a loss to the Raiders, may have cost the Steelers an important win. The veteran Podlesh gets a slight nod over the younger Brad Wing at punter, but that job is still very much up for grabs. Warren is as reliable as they come at long snapper.