The Pittsburgh Steelers cut their roster down to the mandatory 85 players on Monday. That means it is time for our Steelers 53 man roster prediction 3.0. Much has changed since our last roster prediction just a few weeks ago. Let’s jump right in to see who’s staying, and who’s going for the 2021 season:
Ben Roethlisberger, Dwayne Haskins, Josh Dobbs
You’ll notice one notable name missing from this group. We are predicting that Mason Rudolph gets dealt before the season begins. Are the Steelers showcasing Mason Rudolph for a trade? Mike Tomlin has seen enough from Dwayne Haskins to feel comfortable with him as the primary backup in our opinion. Trading Rudolph allows the team to recoup some of the later round draft capital they have traded away recently.
Running Back (3)
Najee Harris, Anthony McFarland, Kalen Ballage
We differ here from a lot of other sites in that we think the Steelers will keep only three backs this season. With Najee Hariss apparently garnering most of the carries this season, the need for an extra back is minimal. We have a bit of a surprise for the third running back spot. There’s no way around it, Kalen Ballage is a much better short yardage back than Benny Snell. For that reason, he will knock Snell off this roster in 2021.
Full Back (1)
Barring injury Derek Watt is this team’s full back period, end of story. There won’t be an easier spot in our entire Steelers 53 man roster prediction 3.0
Tight End (3)
Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Kevin Rader
Not much to say with this position group. These three have been set in stone since the day Freiermuth was drafted.
Wide Receiver (5)
Ju Ju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, Ray Ray McLoud
Another position group without much drama. Ray-Ray McLoud would seem to be vulnerable if not for the fact he is basically the team’s only returner on special teams. Mathew Sexton might yet give him a run for his money, but as of now it’s still McLoud.
Offensive Line: (9)
Chuks Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Trea Turner, Zach Banner, Dan Moore Jr., Joe Haeg, Rashaan Coward, BJ Finney
Question marks galore with this group. Injuries, and poor play have plagued them through the entire training camp so far. We have been consistent in keeping nine up to this point, but with all the unknown regarding this group we may eventually add a tenth offensive lineman for depth.
Defensive Line (6)
Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Isaiah Buggs
The race for the final defensive line spot will go right down to the wire. Isaiah Buggs, Carlos Davis, and even Henry Mondeaux are all battling it out for a roster spot. This may be the deepest position group on the entire roster.
Inside Linebacker (5)
Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Buddy Johnson, Marcus Allen, Robert Spillane
We have a brand new addition to the inside linebacker room. Joe Schobert was acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 2022 sixth round pick. https://blackandteal.com/2021/08/13/jacksonville-jaguars-joe-schobert-trade/ Not only that, but the Jaguars also ate some of the salary as well. This will go down as another absolutely terrific trade by Kevin Colbert. Ulysees Gilbert’s poor play might have had him on the way out anyway, but this acquisition pretty much seals his fate now.
Outside Linebacker (5)
TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, Cassius Marsh, Quincy Roche
This is another very deep group. It pains us to leave Jamir Jones off this roster. Hopefully the team will be able to get him to the practice squad. Cassius Marsh has shown great improvement this off-season. What was once thought of as strictly a special teams player, is now firmly in the rotation as a backup edge.
Joe Haden, Cam Sutton, James Pierre, Arthur Maulet, Justin Layne, Antoine Brooks Jr.
This is not an overly impressive group. Anything after Haden, and Sutton is a complete crap shoot at this point. Don’t be surprised if Kevin Colbert adds a veteran body here.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, TBD
We have to believe the Steelers will add another safety to this team. There simply isn’t an NFL caliber free safety on this roster past Minkah Fitzpatrick, not even in a backup role. Keep a close eye on the waiver wire for any safety with a pulse. They may indeed end up on the Steelers roster come week one.
Special Teams (3)
Kicker – Chris Boswell
Punter – Pressley Harvin III
Long Snapper – Kameron Canaday
Kicker and long snapper are locks for this team. The punting job however may go right down to the final preseason game. Jordan Berry is not going down without a fight in this position battle.