Steelers: Cutdown analysis

Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker

Biggest surprise: Rookie free-agent tailback Isaac Redman did all he could to impress the Steelers this summer to make the 53-man roster. But the numbers game was too much as Pittsburgh already has three quality tailbacks in Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore. The Steelers won’t hesitate to place Redman on their practice squad if no team claims him.

Recently released Carey Davis was the team’s starting fullback last year, so that also counts as a surprise. But Davis has been in the doghouse for Pittsburgh since last year, and with the arrival of rookie Frank “The Tank” Summers, Davis became expendable.

No-brainers: Linebacker Bruce Davis was a third-round pick in 2008 with potential. But he didn’t show much in more than a year in Pittsburgh, so the Steelers were tired of waiting for him to come around. This year’s seventh-round pick, A.Q. Shipley, came in with high hopes but struggled physically at the NFL level as most scouts projected. The Steelers might like to spend more time teaching Shipley the NFL game if he isn’t claimed. Others like Justin Vincent, Scott Paxson and Donovan Woods were not surprises.

What’s next: With starting guard Darnell Stapleton (knee) out for the year and on injured reserve, don’t be surprised if the Steelers search the waiver wire for some depth on the offensive line. That’s really the only glaring weakness Pittsburgh has entering the season. The center position behind starter Justin Hartwig is particularly thin now that both Stapleton and Shipley were taken off the active roster.

We will have more analysis Saturday as the rest of the AFC North makes its announcements.