There has been some significant news since our last Steelers roster prediction. Steelers 53 man roster prediction: Version 1.0 Kevin Colbert has managed to sign both Trai Turner and Melvin Ingram during this time. While veteran’s like David DeCastro and Vince Williams have shockingly left the club. It’s almost certain that another veteran or two could be headed to this team before the start of the regular season. For now, here is our Steelers 53 man roster prediction for 2021:
Quarterbacks: (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Dwayne Haskins, Mason Rudolph
These three have been set in stone since the end of last season. There is little chance Joshua Dobbs makes the 53 man roster barring injury. We are predicting that Dwayne Haskins leapfrogs Mason Rudolph as this team’s number two quarterback by the end of training camp.
Running Backs: (3) – Najee Harris, Anthony McFarland, Benny Snell
Usually the Steelers go with four running backs in their 53 man roster. With the amount of carries it seems that Najee Harris will get, the need for a fourth back just isn’t there. We believe the team will save a roster spot here and go with just three to start the season.
Fullback: (1) – Derek Watt
Watt is a key contributor on special teams. It remains to be seen if he will actually be used in the offensive game plan in 2021.
Offensive Tackle: (4) – Chukwuma Okorafor, Zach Banner, Joe Haeg, Dan Moore Jr.
Inexperience and question marks plague the entire offensive line group. Zach Banner has just one career start, while Okorafor will be making his first start at left tackle. How well these two adapt to their new starting roles will go a long way in determining the success or failure of this team.
Interior Line: (5) – Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Trai Turner, BJ Finney, Rashaad Coward
Trai Turner is a big get by Kevin Colbert to replace the departed David DeCastro. That is if he can stay healthy of course. Turner has had a multitude of injuries over the last few seasons. The most concerning is the multiple concussions he has suffered. Kendrick Green will most likely be the team’s starting center. He is a rookie, so their will be a learning curve with this talented player. Kevin Dotson should be the most solid player along the entire offensive line.
Wide Reciever: (5) – Ju Ju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, Ray-Ray McCloud
This is as much of a lock of any position group on the team. The first four of Smith Schuster, Johnson, Claypool, and Washington are guaranteed roster spots. Ray Ray McCloud might be in danger if he weren’t the only returner on the entire roster. He is not going anywhere in 2021.
Tight End: (3) – Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Kevin Rader
The third tight end spot on this roster is a bit of a weakness. Kevin Rader would seem to have the upper hand with his blocking ability. Don’t rule out the possibility of new offensive coordinator Matt Canada being intrigued enough by Zach Gentry’s 6’8” size to keep him over Rader.
Defensive Line: (6) – Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs, Isaiahh Loudermilk
The Steelers spent a significant amount of draft capital to acquire Isaiahh Loudermilk, so its a long shot he doesn’t make this roster. Buggs will easily beat out Carlos Davis for the back up nose tackle position. We know the starting three are as solid as it comes in the NFL.
Inside Linebackers: (4) Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Marcus Allen
We had correctly predicted that Vince Williams wouldn’t make this team. We did not expect a sudden retirement on the first day fo camp however. His path to a roster spot became extremely difficult after the drafting of Buddy Johnson. Ulysees Gilbert is a substantially better athlete than Marcus Allen, but he just can not seem to stay healthy. Allen will almost certainly be the fourth inside linebacker for this team because of that.
Outside Linebackers: (6) – TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, Quincy Roche, Cassius Marsh
Kevin Colbert worked his magic once again signing Melvin Ingram this late in the process. Ingram gives this team a veteran pass rusher who may still have a big season or two under his belt. There is even talk out of camp that he is being used as on the inside on passing downs so all three rushers can be used at the same time. Cassius Marsh will stick because of his value on special teams. Don’t look for many snaps from him on defense.
Corners: (6) – Joe Haden, Cam Sutton, Justin Layne, James Pierre, Arthur Maulet, Antoine Brooks Jr.
The depth at outside corner is one of the bigger question marks on the Steelers roster. If one of the starters were to get injured, it could become a disaster in the secondary. The Steelers seem to really like James Pierre a whole lot more than the rest of the world. A veteran signing at this position wouldn’t shock us.
As far as slot corner goes, early indications are that Keith Butler is very fond of Antoine Brooks Jr. He apparently has an early leg up on veteran Arthur Maulet. Keep an eye on undrafted free agent Shakur Brown here. At the very least he will earn a practice squad spot.
Safety: (4) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood
If you thought the depth at corner was bad, safety is that much worse. Miles Killebrew is strictly a special teams ace, and Norwood is a late round rookie. The rumors of a Malik Hooker signing seemed dead after reports he would sign in Dallas. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/malik-hooker-expected-to-sign-with-cowboys-following-second-visit-with-the-team-per-report/
A few days have passed however with no new news. Whether it’s Hooker or another veteran safety, its a sure bet this team will add another safety to the mix.
Special Teams: (3)
Kicker – Chris Boswell
Punter – Pressley Harvin III
Snapper – Kameron Canaday
The Steelers tried to move on from Jordan Berry last season, but were unsuccessful. They will try again this year with rookie Pressley Harvin. This indeed could finally be it for the inconsistent Berry in a Steelers uniform.