The Pittsburgh Steelers first preseason game is in the books, so that means its time for our next Steelers 53 man roster prediction. The offense played so well it actually left us with more questions than answers. Several new players made their case to make this team. Defensively, this team left much to be desired. Their performance leaves us with lots of questions about depth on that side of the ball. With all that said, lets get right to it:
Quarterback: (2) – Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett
We have been said all along that the Steelers will keep just two quarterbacks in 2022. Steelers 53 man roster prediction: The pre-camp edition
Kenny Pickett’s terrific performance on Saturday night only confirms what we have speculated. Mitch Trubisky will be the starter, and Pickett will be the primary backup. This leaves no room for Mason Rudolph. There are already rumors swirling that their is interest from the Detroit Lions. https://www.si.com/nfl/lions/news/steelers-mason-rudolph-could-be-traded-to-lions
Look for the team to hold on to Rudolph until near the end of the preseason, then be traded before the final cutdown.
Running back: (3) – Najee Harris, Anthony McFarland, Jaylen Warren
After his performance in the first preseason game, Jaylen Warren is everyone’s new favorite backup running back. He was excellent in his first game action with 64 total yards. The one drawback was the fumble later in the game. Mike Tomlin does not react well to running backs who can’t protect the football.
We saw a whole new Anthony McFarland Saturday night. He was patient and decisive, traits we are not used to seeing from him. If McFarland can continue to play like that, we may have seen the last of Benny Snell in Pittsburgh.
Tight End: (3) – Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Conner Heyward
Not much to note here. These three players have been virtual locks from day one. Conner Heyward definitely impressed us with his performance against the Seahawks. This is a solid position group for the Steelers.
Wide Receiver: (6) – Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin, Miles Boykin, Gunner Olszewski
The wide receiver picture has become a little clearer in the last couple of days. Anthony Miller being gone really shores up the top six. Don’t sleep on Steven Sims just yet however. A few more performances like the other night, and he may force the Steelers into a very tough decision. This is by far the deepest position on the entire roster.
Fullback: (1) Derek Watt
I am teetering on leaving Watt off the roster entirely at this point. The team rarely uses a fullback to begin with, and Watt’s inability to get on the practice field is becoming an issue. Pittsburgh could always use Conner Heyward as a fullback in a pinch. For now I’m keeping Watt on, but it’s 50/50 at best right at this point.
Offensive Line: (8) – Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Chuks Okorafor, Joe Heag, Kendrick Green, JC Hassenhauer
This group is pretty set in the starting five short of who will win the starting guard spot between Kendrick Green, and Kevin Dotson. The swing tackle position still scares us to death. If there were an injury at tackle, Joe Haeg is the only capable backup on the roster. That simply isn’t good enough. The hope is the Steelers add a body here before the preseason is over.
Defensive Line: (6) – Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams, Chis Wormley, DeMarvin Leal
As we stand right now, this team goes seven deep along the defensive line. The Steelers generally keep six, which leaves us with a numbers problem. These things tend to take care of themselves as injuries inevitably crop up. For the purposes of this latest Steelers 53 man roster prediction, we are going to predict that Tyson Alualu somehow ends up injured again before the season. It’s not a far fetched prediction at all unfortunately.
Inside Linebacker: (5) – Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Mark Robinson
This is a very worrisome group for the Steelers. While Myles Jack continues to look great, what comes after him is not very impressive. Devin Bush was his old 2021 self once again. Consistently out of position, and seemingly avoiding contact as much as possible. Robert Spillane is a fine backup, but his game is very limited. With Marcus Allen still hurt, and Buddy Johnson still not all that impressive, Omar Khan may be forced into a bold move to sure up the linebacker position. Stay tuned.
Outside Linebacker: (5) – TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, Genard Avery, Hamilcar Rashed, Derrek Tuszka
In our last Steelers 53 man roster prediction, we left a roster spot as “TBA” here. Maybe, just maybe, Hamilcar Rashed could turn into that third pass rusher we are all hoping for. He did have 36.5 career sacks at Oregon St. Either he, or Genard Avery have to step up in a big way for this team. OLB number three is a low key important position for the Steelers. Keeping Watt, and Highsmith’s snaps to a reasonable number is a very important factor for the success of this defense.
Corner: (6) – Akhello Witherspoon, Cam Sutton, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, Justin Layne, James Pierre
Not much new to report on the corners. The Steelers apparently dodged a bullet with the Witherspoon injury. He is the team’s only hope for a number one corner. The best way to describe the Steelers corner situation is deep, but very uninspiring. We had hope that undrafted rookie Chris Steele may sneak into one of these spots. Unfortunately he made no impact on the game the other night, meaning his chances of making the team are even slimmer.
Safety: (5) Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Demontae Kazee, Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew
Miles KIllebrew’s hold on a roster spot is as tenuous as ever. For now we are keeping him on solely for his special team’s ability. He is clearly fifth on the depth chart as an actual safety however. Demontae Kazee has been terrific throughout camp, and did nothing to change that during his first preseason game action. Diddo for Tre Norwood who was possibly the team’s best player versus the Seahawks.
Special Teams: (3)
Kicker – Chris Boswell
Punter – Pressley Harvin III
Longsnapper – Christian Kuntz
Throw in Gunner Olszewski as the returner, and this has a chance to be a really good group. The entire Steelers special teams unit should be one of the strengths of the team this year. Danny Smith has himself one of the most talented collections of special teams players he’s ever had in Pittsburgh.