The Pittsburgh Steelers trimmed their roster to 80 on Tuesday with some fairly surprising cuts. The Genard Avery release being the most unexpected of all. This cutdown raised more questions than answers. Let’s go through our latest Steelers 53 man roster prediction to try to sort out what this team will look like come opening day:
Quarterback: (2) – Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett
We are sticking to our guns that the Steelers will only keep two quarterbacks in 2022. It’s our opinion that Mason Rudolph will be traded in the coming weeks. The only real question now is will Kenny Pickett do enough to surpass Mitch Trubisky as this team’s starting quarterback. He is very close to that as we stand today.
Running Backs: (3) Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Benny Snell
The big story at running back is that Jaylen Warren seems to have jumped everyone to become the primary backup to Najee Harris. Unfortunately this means the end is near for Anthony McFarland. Pittsburgh generally keep only keeps three backs, and with Benny Snell’s importance to the special teams unit he’s a virtual lock to make the team. It will take a strong performance in the final preseason game for McFarland to make this roster.
Fullback: (1) Derek Watt
There are a few player on this team who really need to play on Sunday, and Derek Watt is one of them. He has missed the entire off-season so far with an injury. Fullback is a position that really does not need to be filled in modern football. With the salary Watt holds, he needs to play well on special teams to justify his worth to this team.
Wide Receivers: (6) Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Gunner Olszewski, Miles Boykin, Calvin Austin III
We have been set on this six for some time now in our Steelers 53 man roster prediction.Steelers 53 man roster prediction: Version 2.0
The Calvin Austin injury may open up a spot temporarily however. There would be quite a competition between Steven Sims, Tyler Vaughan, and Tyler Snead if Austin were unable to go to start the season. This is by far the deepest position on the roster.
Offensive Line: (9) Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Chuks Okorafor, JC Hassensure, Joe Haeg, Kendrick Green, TBA
This offensive line took a giant step backwards in their last preseason game. It opens up serious questions about this unit heading into the season. No one played particularly well, bringing up memories of last season’s putrid group. This is a spot where we very well could see another add before the season begins. Omar Khan has already reshaped the line in terms of backups showing us the team’s displeasure with the group overall. They have signed William Dunkle and Adrain Ealy in the last 10 days alone. Stay tuned for more as other teams trim their rosters to 53 next week.
Tight Ends: (3) Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Conner Heyward
As it has been all off-season this group is pretty much set in stone. It’s a really solid group with absolutely no competition to speak of.
Defensive Line: (7) Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Larry Ogunjobi, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams, DeMarvin Leal, Chris Wormley
With this group entirely healthy, the Steelers will have no choice but to keep seven. There is still some concern over Montravius Adams and his ankle injury however. If he is good to go for week one, don’t be surprised if Chris Wormley gets dealt. This is a surplus the Steelers can exploit for future draft picks, or help in other areas of the roster.
Inside Linebacker: (5) Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Mark Robinson, Marcus Allen
Mark Robinson has been the surprise of camp so far. The seventh round pick has all but cemented his spot on this roster. His surprise inclusion will come at the expense of veteran Buddy Johnson. Johnson has done nothing to earn a roster spot this off-season. We put Marcus Allen back on the roster provided he can finally get on the field for the preseason finale on Sunday. Allen is valuable special teams player, but he needs to prove he is healthy.
Outside Linebacker: (4) TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Hamilcar Rashed
There is real cause for concern in the depth at this position. This has been made even more dire with the curious release of Genard Avery. Health is not an issue with Avery as he has already been scooped up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. https://www.joebucsfan.com/2022/08/bucs-sign-veteran-lb-genard-avery/
Outside linebacker is absolutely a position that will be added to before the season starts. There is no way this team can go into a season with Derrek Tuszka as the primary backup. It’s a matter of when, not if this team signs another edge rusher.
Corners: (5) Akhello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Cam Sutton, Arthur Maulet, Justin Layne
The battle for the final corner spot will go down to the wire between Justin Layne and James Pierre. There are probably no two players who need good performances in the final preseason game more than these two do. We had hoped that Chris Steele might jump ahead of these two, but unfortunately he looks destined for the practice squad.
Safeties: (5) Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Tre Norwood, Elijah Riley
Interesting move made late on Wednesday as the Steelers claimed Jets safety Elijah Riley off of waivers. Either Pittsburgh is concerned with Miles KIllebrew’s health, or unhappy with his inability to return from injury. Whatever the reason, the Riley claim signals that KIllebrew’s days in Pittsburgh are numbered.
Specialists: (3) Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
No surprises here. Any competition for this group has been cut now. Special teams promises to be a real strength for this team.