Pittsburgh Steelers' projected roster

Examining the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster:


Jones is a candidate to be waived and signed to the practice squad if he doesn't show significant improvement in the last two preseason games. The second-year man took a step back big last Saturday night despite getting work with the Steelers' first-team offensive line in a 19-16 win over the Buffalo Bills. This could be a position that the Steelers try to upgrade after final cuts are made, depending on which quarterbacks are on the waiver wire.


I dropped Tauren Poole for now since the Steelers are going to have to carry an extra long snapper until Greg Warren returns from a torn meniscus. Poole has a chance because of his special-teams play but no running back has emerged behind Bell, Blount and Archer.


Justin Brown has to show more after catching just three passes for 15 yards in the Steelers' first two preseason games. He is safe for now but a player like Darrius Heyward-Bey still has time to make a move. Derek Moye seems to be losing ground in his attempt to make the 53-man roster for the second year in a row.


There is no change here but David Paulson and rookies Eric Waters and Rob Blanchflower are still in the mix. Palmer gets the nod for now because of his experience, blocking and ability to contribute on special teams. Will Johnson plays enough tight end in his new role that the Steelers could go with Miller and Spaeth as the only players who are exclusively tight ends.


I'm still sticking with eight here but the Steelers could go with one more player up front if they go with one less at quarterback, running back or tight end. Adams will be the No. 3 tackle, allowing the Steelers to cut ties with veteran Guy Whimper and keep Johnson.


Brian Arnfelt is ahead of Mauro at right defensive end on the depth chart only. Mauro has played with the second-team defense in both Steelers' preseason games, and the undrafted rookie helped himself against the Bills with a pair of sacks and a quarterback pressure. McCulllers is a keeper and has the potential to be one of the steals of the 2014 NFL draft.


Zumwalt needs to get on the field as the rookie sixth-round pick didn't play against the Bills and has been hampered by a groin injury. Assuming he can get healthy the UCLA product makes the team. Jones is raw and could probably use a season on the practice squad. But a couple of players make the team every year because of their special-teams work, and the undrafted rookie has stood out in that phase of the game.


McCain has been solid and appears to have moved past Blake as the fourth-best cornerback on the team. Rookie Shaquille Richardson is off the 53-man projection for the first time as I need to see more from the fifth-round draft pick to put him on the team. Richardson still has time though his status for the Steelers' third preseason game in Philadelphia is uncertain because of an undisclosed injury he sustained last Friday in practice.


Golden flashed against the Bills with an intercepton and two pass break ups and he is a known commodity on special teams. The third-year man is the odd man out if the Steelers only keep four safties and go with six cornerbacks instead of five.


Punter Adam Podlesh has yet to re-join the Steelers after missing all of training camp because of a personal matter but Wing hasn't exactly put a stranglehold on the job. His net average after two games is just 35.8 yards though three of his 12 punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line. Ingram gets the nod over Bryce Davis as temporary long snapper until Warren returns.