The NFL draft is over, and free agency is winding down. That means it’s time for Steelers Sanctuary to do our first Steelers 53 man roster prediction. Keep in mind a lot can still change between now and September. This team will almost certainly add a few more veterans before the season starts. Pittsburgh could use another tackle, corner, and edge rusher to name a few. We go into this in more detail in our possible free agent signings here: Ten post draft free agents the Steelers could be interested in
For now we use what the Steelers have given us, so lets jump right into our roster prediction:
Quarterback (3) – Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Chris Oladokun
For the first time since 2004, we do not know who the Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback will be. Mitch Trubisky will most likely start the season, but Kenny Pickett will push him all season long. Mason Rudolph will stick around as injury protection, but will be gone by the last round of cuts.
Running Backs (3) – Najee Harris, Benny Snell, Mataeo Durant
The third running back spot is up for grabs this year. For reasons unknown to us, Mike Tomlin does not seem to be a big Anthony McFarland fan. Undrafted free agent Mataeo Durant and his 4.4 speed are interesting, but there may be a veteran still to come. For now we stick with Durant, but stay tuned.
Fullback (1) – Derek Watt
Watt could be pushed a bit by sixth round pick Connor Heyward. In the end though Watt stays, and Heyward goes to the practice squad.
Tight End (3) – Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Kevin Rader
This one is pretty chalk. We’d like to see the team go get another veteran tight end, but it‘s more likely they are set with these three going into 2022.
Wide Receiver (6) – Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Gunner Olszewski
The transformation of the Steelers wide receiver room is complete. Out with the slow, in with the blazing fast. Pittsburgh has assembled a track team with this position group. This should be a fun group to watch in 2022.
Offensive line (9) – Chuks Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Dan Moore, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, JC Hassenhauer, Jake Dixon
Yet another position group that got an overhaul for the 2022 season. The addition of James Daniels and Mason Cole are huge upgrades for a line that desperately needed it. Pittsburgh could really use another veteran swing tackle here. Joe Haeg is the only other tackle currently on the roster with any NFL experience. Keep an eye on undrafted free agent Jake Dixon if the team doesn’t make any outside additions.
Defensive Line (6) – Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Demarvin Leal, Montravius Adams
The most noticeable absence in our Steelers 53 man roster prediction is of course Stephon Tuitt. The longer we go without an announcement of his comeback, the more convinced we get it isn’t happening. Until that announcement comes, we can not put him on any roster prediction. The Steelers invested a third round pick in Demarvin Leal, giving even more evidence of Tuitt not returning. This is still a solid group on their own, but nowhere near as dynamic without their former star defensive end.
Inside Linebacker (5) – Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Ulysees Gilbert III
This will be an interesting position to watch throughout the pre-season process. Jack and Bush are locks as starters, but who falls into place behind them is up in the air. Spillane should be on solid ground, as the rest battle it out for roster spots. Whether the Steelers decide to keep four or five could mean a surprising cut here.
Outside Linebacker (4) – TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, Genard Avery, TBD
We just can not see this team enter the season with Genard Avery, and Derek Tuszka as the primary backups at outside linebacker. There has to be a veteran added here. The free agent pool is extremely thin right now. Look for whoever the new GM is to watch the waiver wire very closely all off-season hoping a decent edge rusher gets cut.
Corner (5) – Cam Sutton, Akhello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Justin Layne, Arthur Maulet
We have a feeling the Steelers are happy with their corner back room, and that scares us to death. This is a group without any semblance of a number one corner, and a lot of shaky number twos. The hope is that Akhello Witherspoon can continue to build on his excellent second half of 2021. He has the talent to be a number one corner, but has yet to prove that consistently throughout his career. This could end up being a huge weakness on the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Safeties (5) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Damontae Kazee, Marcus Allen
After weeks of speculation over who would be the Steelers starting strong safety, old friend Terrell Edmunds is back at a very discounted price. Kevin Colbert then added Damontae Kazee as an excellent depth piece. https://thelandryhat.com/2022/05/04/cowboys-damontae-kazee-signs-steelers/#:~:text=On%20Monday%20after%20the%20draft,one%20year%20with%20the%20Cowboys.
Colbert got them both done for under $3 million total. This was a master stroke of negotiating, and patience by the Steelers outgoing General Manager.
Special Teams (3):
Chris Boswell (Kicker), Pressley Harvin III (punter), Christian Kuntz (long snapper)
Not much to note, as this group is pretty much a lock. Harvin may have to punt well in the preseason to keep his job. Barring a major catastrophe of a performance he should be fairly safe.