The Pittsburgh Steelers have now completed the bulk of their off-season work as it pertains to acquiring players. With free agency and the draft now behind us, its time to start looking at how the roster might shape up. There of course will still be more moves to come. Kevin Colbert always adds a veteran or two during training camp. Having said that, here’s our “way too early” guess at what the Steelers 53 man roster might look like come September:
Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Paxton Lynch
Pretty straight forward here. If Paxton Lynch shows he is committed to football he should easily beat out Devlin Hodges. The depth behind Big Ben is not very good at all. If he were to go down with another injury, we will be in for a repeat of the horrendous offensive performance of last season. Do the Steelers have the worst quarterback situation in the AFC North?
James Conner, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland
The Steelers are injecting some speed into their running back for the first time in while. The addition of Anthony McFarland will surely mean the end for backs Jaylen Samuels and Kerrith Whyte.Top 5 Steelers in danger of losing their jobs after the draft
Pittsburgh says goodbye to fan favorite Rosie Nicks, and spends some serious free agent capital on the fullback position. Look for Derek Watt to play a big role in the team’s offense in 2020.
Wide Reciever: (6)
Ju Ju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Ryan Switzer, Chase Claypool, Deon Cain
Chase Claypool brings some much needed top end speed and size to this position group. This is some we have been begging for years now. In fact, we had Claypool pegged for just that in one of our mock drafts 2020 Steelers Mock Draft 2.0: SPARQ addition
Expect a big come back year from Ju Ju Smith Schuster with the return of Roethlisberger as the team’s starting quarterback. Add an improving Diontae Johnson, and this could be the most talented group of wideouts the Steelers have had top to bottom in some time now.
Offensive Line: (8)
Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Steven Wisniewski, Matt Feiler, Zach Banner, Chuks Okorafor, Kevin Dotson,
The right side of this line is very much in flux heading into 2020. The easy choice would be to put Wisnieski at guard and leave Feiler at tackle. Many variation could happen on this side including moving Feiler to guard, or even rookie Dotson winning the right guard position. This will be a very interesting group to watch during training camp and pre-season.
Tight End: (3)
Vance McDonald, Eric Ebron, Zach Gentry
This is a position group that is set as any on the roster. Ordinarily a player like Zach Gentry would have to fight for his rosters spot. With no one of any consequence behind him, he is as near a lock to make the roster as anyone. The top two of Ebron and McDonald however, should be an exciting duo to watch this upcoming season. Ebron has already began cozying up to Ben Roehtlisberger, smart move on his part. https://www.espn.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelers/post/_/id/31720/new-steelers-te-eric-ebron-hopes-he-and-big-bens-best-friend
Total Offense: (24)
Defensive Line: (6)
Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Dan McCullers, Henry Mondeaux
Most in the Pittsburgh media have been writing off big DanMcCullers for about four years running now. Yet every year he manages to comfortably find his way back onto the roster. With no other true nose tackle on the team, 2020 will be no different. Henry Mondeaux is a name to watch out for here. He showed some flashes during the 2019 pre-season, and managed to stay on the practice squad the entire season.
Inside Linebacker (4)
Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Ulysees Gilbert III, Robert Spillane
This should be the breakout year for Devin Bush. Coming off an impressive rookie campaign, big things are expected from this Steelers linebacker. There is still a chance the team could add a linebacker/safety hybrid to this group in free agency.
Outside Linebacker: (5)
TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, Alex Highsmith, Ola Adeniyi, Tuzar Skipper
This is the best edge duo the Steelers have put on the field in ten years. The combination of Watt and Dupree could easily account for twenty five to thirty sacks this year. The team added a quality depth piece in Alex Highsmith via the draft as well.
Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Justin Layne, Cam Sutton
This is a solid, but not spectacular group. The good news is they don’t have to be spectacular as long as the pass rush continues like it did last year. The Steelers really need Justin Layne to take a giant step forward in 2020. He is the only true outside corner other than the starters on the roster.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Antoine Brooks, Jordan Dangerfield, TBD
Kevin Colbert pulled off one of the best trades of his career acquiring Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was the key missing piece that turned this entire defense into one of the best in football. Edmunds still hasn’t lived up to his first round billing, but has become a solid starter. This is the one position on the team that needs the most upgrading. Look for Colbert to keep a close eye on roster cuts from other teams to find a veteran free safety to add to the mix.
Total Defense: 26
Special Teams: (3)
Chris Boswell, Jordan Berry, Kameron Canaday
No surprises here, we will have a repeat of 2019. Chris Boswell re-established himself as one of the premier kickers in the league in 2019. If anyone could be pushed for their spot it is the inconsistent punter Jordan Berry.