The Pittsburgh Steelers have made their final cuts for the 2013 preseason, and among them, there were a few surprises. In all, the released 22 players to get down to the 53-man limit while activating Heath Miller from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.Jonathan Dwyer. While this may be a surprise to some, reports during the draft had the Steelers attempting to trade Dwyer during the NFL Draft, once they selected Le’Veon Bell. Dwyer, who appeared to be in the best shape of his career, had an uneven preseason and never truly seized the opportunity presented to him as injuries hampered the running back position through camp.
Joining Dwyer in the list of cuts were three more former draft picks, nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu (fourth round 2012), cornerback Terry Hawthorne (fifth round 2013) and wide receiver Justin Brown (sixth round 2013). Of those, Hawthorne may have been the biggest surprise, as he flashed some ability in coverage and has the size that the team covets at cornerback. Yes, he has battled some lingering injuries since being drafted, but he seemed to have some long-term potential.
Both Ta’amu and Brown were locked in tight position battles during training camp and preseason. In the case of Brown, he was clearly out-played by Derek Moye, who earned his way into the final 53-man roster. For Ta’amu, it appears to end his troubled tenure with the Steelers, after rookie season in 2012 that was marred by off-field incidents and an arrest. For these three former draft choices, the Steelers could re-sign them to the Practice Squad if they go unclaimed on waivers.
Also released by the Steelers were punter Brian Moorman, cornerbacks Devin Smith and Josh Victorian, linebackers Alan Baxter, Marshall McFadden, Brian Rolle and Terence Garvin, tight ends Nathan Overbay and Jamie McCoy, offensive linemen Mike Golic Jr, Joe Madsen, Joe Long and Chris Hubbard, wide receivers Reggie Dunn and Kashif Moore, running back Alvester Alexander, safety Ross Ventrone and defensive end Brian Arnfelt. Of those players, McFadden may be the biggest surprise, as he appeared to be solidly entrenched as the top back-up at inside linebacker throughout the preseason.
Of those young players released, Arnfelt, Baxter, Garvin, Golic and Hubbard are likely to find their way onto the practice squad if not claimed off waivers. It is also quite possible that a player such as McFadden is added to the active roster once the team places Matt Spaeth on injured reserve with the designation to return. In fact, with the total lack of experience as back-ups at inside linebacker for the Steelers having rookie Vince Williams and Kion Wilson behind Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons, that move would make a tremendous amount of sense.
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