The Pittsburgh Steelers have announced that 11 players have been signed to the practice squad for the 2022 season. While there are still five more signings that will occur, the organization has had members of the practice squad called up to the 53-man roster in recent years who ended up making an impact during the regular season. There are multiple guys who are part of the unit already in 2022 who could see themselves being active on Sundays if an unexpected injury, or even poor play occurs. It starts with the team’s current issues on the offensive line.
1.) John Leglue, Offensive Lineman
It was a bit of a head scratcher when the Steelers released offensive tackle, Joe Haeg. Haeg has not found himself back on the organization’s practice squad, but Leglue was one of the first players to come back to the team.
John Leglue is staying in Pittsburgh after all. The versatile OL just signed to the practice squad, per source.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) August 31, 2022
The left guard position is far from settled as both Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green haven’t lived up to expectations throughout the preseason. If the poor play continues, the Steelers could potentially move on from Green. That is unlikely, but Leglue’s other path to the 53-man is if one of these guys goes down with an injury. He started five games for the team last season and has familiarity with the offense.
2.) Anthony McFarland Jr., Running Back
For now, there are only three running backs on the active roster. That wasn’t the case last year as for the majority of the season, four were a part of the 53-man roster. It was surprising when McFarland returned. It was believed that another team would have put a claim in for him, but he returns to Pittsburgh as a member of the practice squad. That could change, however.
Jaylen Warren outplayed all ball carriers in the preseason and took McFarland’s spot right out from under him. If Warren’s play does not translate to the regular season, McFarland may get his name called. His contributions, however, would be felt much more on special teams if he were active on Sundays. Regardless, his stint on the practice squad could be a short one.
3.) Mark Gilbert, Cornerback
Gilbert was a member of the Steelers practice squad until mid-October of last season when the Detroit Lions signed him to their 53-man roster. He ended up playing eight games for the Lions and forced a fumble. Gilbert, who is the cousin of former All-Pro Darrelle Revis, is currently the only cornerback on the practice squad in Pittsburgh and he returns with a goal of playing in games on Sundays as he did the latter half of last season with Detroit.
The preferred defensive back here would have been former Steelers cornerback, Justin Layne, but he ended up with the New York Giants. It seems that the the organization has finalized their cornerback room, but the same goes for Gilbert early on. If any of the five guys on the 53-man roster have to miss any kind of time because of an injury, Gilbert has eight games of playing experience from his first season and could be promoted.
What practice squad players are you keeping an eye on throughout the 2022 season? Let us know in the comments below!