PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers cut 21 players on Saturday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here's a closer look at the final cuts:
Most significant move: That the Steelers cut a valuable special teamer in Steven Johnson showed seventh-round pick Tyler Matakevich played his way onto the roster. The Steelers faced a tough call at inside linebacker because of the depth. But Matakevich was impressive in training camp drills, and he was almost always in the right spots of the field in preseason games. He overcame his third-string status to join L.J. Fort as inside linebackers at the back end of the roster. The Steelers probably considered stashing Matakevich on the practice squad, but there was hardly a guarantee he would clear waivers. So, he's a Steeler.
Most significant non-move: The Steelers released all of the bubble corners playing for the fourth spot behind Artie Burns (or third spot if Burns isn't ready for live action). In the end, these weren't significant moves because the team didn't have a true No. 3 or 4. That's why they traded for cornerback Justin Gilbert, who's a mystery after a lackluster first two years with the Cleveland Browns but still has top-10-pick pedigree. The group of Montell Garner, Al-Hajj Shabazz and Donald Washington signified, at best, close calls. The Steelers released 2015 fourth-round pick Doran Grant for a second straight year. Grant working at safety for parts of the preseason was probably a bad sign.
Late-round sorrow: Sixth-round linebacker Travis Feeney and seventh-round return man Demarcus Ayers didn't make the cut, though they have practice-squad potential. With fourth-round offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins on injured reserve, that leaves Matakevich as the only one of the Steelers' last four picks in the 2016 draft serving on the active roster. Ayers has quick-cut ability, but slot receiver Eli Rogers took the punt return spot. Feeney is a raw athlete who battled injuries and could use a year behind the scenes to add bulk.
Who needs the draft? At least 12 players on the Steelers' current 53-man roster went undrafted, including several players who launched careers through the Steelers' organization in the last two years. The Steelers value players who can play, regardless of status. Linebacker James Harrison, guard Ramon Foster and safety Robert Golden are among starters who got overlooked in their respective drafts. Slot receiver Rogers and offensive tackle B.J. Finney make first-time appearances on the Steelers' Week 1 roster.
Steelers moves: QB Bryn Renner; WRs Ayers, Cobi Hamilton and Marcus Tucker; RBs Brandon Brown-Dukes and Cameron Stingily; OLs Shahbaz Ahmed, Antoine Everett, Matt Feiler and Wade Hansen; CBs Montell Garner, Grant, Shabazz and Washington; DLs Lavon Hooks, Caushaud Lyons and Johnny Maxey; LBs Feeney, Johnson and Jermauria Rasco; S Ray Vinopal.