PITTSBURGH – The Steelers cut two draft picks and put Charlie Batch on injured reserve in a rather predictable final round of cuts.
The only surprise to make the team is Donovan Woods, a former quarterback at Oklahoma State who made the team as an inside/outside linebacker.
The cuts included sixth-round draft picks Mike Humpal and Ryan Mundy. Both received injury settlements and were waived. Both played well early in camp and are leading contenders to be called back to the practice squad at noon Sunday.
Veteran outside linebacker Arnold Harrison was also waived after receiving an injury settlement.
The other first-year players cut Saturday were LB Patrick Bailey, FB Billy Latsko, OG Doug Legursky, OG Matt Lentz, CB Roy Lewis, DT Scott Paxson, DE Jordan Reffett, WR Micah Rucker, TE Dezmond Sherrod, RB Justin Vincent and CB Travis Williams.
The veterans cut were WRs Eddie Drummond and Willie Reid, P Paul Ernster, S Grant Mason, DE Ryan McBean, OT Jeremy Parquet and TE Lee Vickers.
The cuts leave the Steelers well-fortified at linebacker and offensive line. They kept nine linebackers and 10 offensive linemen, including five tackles. Rookie Tony Hills made the roster as the fifth tackle in spite of a disappointing preseason. Outside linebacker Bruce Davis is another rookie draft pick who made the team after struggling this preseason.
Woods, the younger brother of former NFL draft picks Rashaun and D’Juan Woods, was Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback as a freshman before moving to safety, and then linebacker his senior year. He had a sack in each of the last two preseason games and his near-sack in the fourth quarter Thursday night caused a pop-up pass that was nearly intercepted.
The punter, at this point, appears to be the veteran Mitch Berger, since Paul Ernster was waived.
The cutting of Reid and Drummond means the No. 5 receiver at this point is Dallas Baker. The Steelers lack an experienced return man and have only an array of players with bit experience.
The defensive line will have four veteran backups, including Nick Eason and Orpheus Roye, who battled McBean, the departed second-year man, for the final spots. None of the Steelers’ seven defensive linemen will be under the age of 30 after Brett Keisel celebrates his Sept. 8 birthday.
The Steelers also need a third tight end after cutting Vickers and Sherrod.
The Steelers can sign eight players to their practice squad Sunday at noon. Marvin Allen, the international exemption, will be the ninth player on the practice squad.