Pittsburgh Steelers training camp is just a few weeks away.  This team is pretty much set for most of the 53 man roster.  There are a few dark horses to keep an eye on during camp.  Here are our top five surprises that will make the Steelers roster in 2023:

1. Monte Pottebaum FB

The conventional thinking is that Conner Heyward will be the de facto fullback for this team in 2023.  He is not really a good fit in the traditional fullback role however.  Keeping in mind the Steelers intentions of playing “bully ball” this season it is much more likely they retain a true fullback for this roster.  Monte Pottebaum is out of central casting for this position.  At 6’1’, 245 lbs he is just the kind of stocky brut this team would love.  Pottebaum is a near lock in our estimation, and was included in our Steelers roster prediction 1.0: Steelers 53 man roster prediction 1.0: The way too early version

2.  Jonathan Marshall DT

With all the additions to the Steelers defensive line this off-season it is easy to forget about Jonathan Marshall.  Pittsburgh claimed him off waivers from the New York Jets in early December of last season, and have kept him around to compete for a spot along the defensive line.  This former sixth round pick is quite intriguing.  Marshall had 29 quarterback pressures in his last season at Arkansas, as well as scoring an almost perfect 9.99 RAS score during the draft process.  The Steelers are deep at defensive line, but it’s not an overly impressive group of potential backups.  We are predicting Marshall impresses to the point where he secures the sixth and final spot on the line.

3. Luq Barcoo CB

Luq Barcoo has been around the block in his short professional career.  The Steelers are the 7th stop in his three year career.  There’s a reason he continues to get looks from so many teams however.  Barcoo has the prototypical size, and ball-hawking skills NFL teams covet.  He led college football in 2019 in interceptions and pass breakups coming out of San Diego St.  His main competition for the roster will be James Pierre.  We think the Steelers would love to upgrade over Pierre, and Barcoo will be the one to do it.

4.  Spencer Anderson OL

The Steelers offensive line is as deep as it has been in years.  That means the path for seventh round pick Spencer Anderson to make the roster is a difficult one.  His versatility along the line is what will help him secure a spot however.  His ability to play center in particular will be the key here.  The Steelers other candidates are Kendrick Green who was a disaster in 2021, and Ryan McCollum a journeyman at best.  We foresee lots of snaps at center during training camp for Anderson.  Combine that with his ability to play basically every other position on the line, and he makes himself far too valuable to cut.

5.  Hakeem Butler WR

Wide receiver is another crowded position on the Steelers roster.  Hakeem Butler gives this team something they do not have in anyone else.  That something is a size/speed option at the slot position.  We are on record as not being too high on Allen Robinson.  He is over 30, and coming off an injury.  We are also not sold on an extremely small, and also coming off a major injury in Calvin Austin.  Butler offers something a littler different, and if he can overcome the questions about his hands he would certainly be a lock for a receiver spot on this roster.  Check out our conversation about him on the Steelers Sanctuary podcast here:https://www.buzzsprout.com/1981237/12883556