Training camp has begun down a St. Vincent’s College. That means it is time for our Steelers 53 man roster prediction 2.0. It’s still fairly early in the process, but this is a good time to take stock of what the Steelers have in their current 90 man roster. With that said, let’s get right to it:
Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph
Not much to say here. These three are set in stone barring injury. Mason Rudolph is a solid as they come in terms of a third sting quarterback.
Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland
Running backs one and two are locked up. The real intrigue comes at the battle for the third spot. At this point it does seem unlikely anyone will get enough reps to unseat Anthony McFarland. His speed would be a welcomed addition to this group.
We are sticking with our premise from our first Steelers 53 man roster prediction here. Steelers 53 man roster prediction 1.0: The way too early version
We believe there is no way the Steelers implement their “impose our will” offense without a true fullback on the roster. This will come at the expense of a certain tight end’s roster spot as you will see next.
Tight Ends (3):
Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Conner Heyward
Call him a tight end, fullback, Hback, or whatever you like. Conner Heyward is making this roster. The inclusion of him and Pottebaum means that Zach Gentry does not make the final 53 in our opinion. The selection of Darnell Washington makes Gentry very much expendable.
Wide Receivers (6):
Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Calvin Austin, Myles Boykin, Allen Robinson, Gunner Olszewski
We wrote earlier this week about the concern we had with this group. Is wide receiver a weakness for the Steelers?
Finding six competent receivers is quite a chore. As much as we’d like to see Hakeem Butler win the sixth spot, Gunner Olszewski’s supposed return skills probably give him the nod.
Dan Moore Jr., Chuks Okorafor, Broderick Jones
Pretty chalk here. The only question being who wins the left tackle spot between Moore and Jones. We don’t see La’Raven Clark being more than a practice squad player.
Isaac Seumalo, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Kevin Dotson, Nate Herbig, Spencer Anderson
How the Steelers plan on filling the backup center role is the only real mystery in this position group. Our thought is Spencer Anderson’s versatility make him the backup center, and third option at every other position along the line. Don’t be shocked if Mike Tomlin tries one more time to justify the horrendous choice of drafting Kendrick Green so early however.
Defensive Line (6):
Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, DeMarvin Leal, Bredon Fehoko, Arman Watts
This is perhaps the deepest, and most difficult position group to predict. There are legitimately six player vying for the last two spots here. In the end, old faces like Isaiahh Loudermilk and Montravius Adams may have seen their last days as Steelers. Keep an eye on Jonathan Marshall throughout training camp. He’s one of our favorite long shots to make the roster.
Outside Linebackers (4)
TJ Watt, Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden, Nick Herbig
We have been skeptical all along that Nick Herbig could play edge in the NFL. The early returns from camp have him flourishing there so far. He could end up being a pleasant surprise, and add some much needed depth to this position.
Inside Linebacker (5)
Elandon Roberts, Cole Holcomb, Nick Kwiatkoski, Mark Robinson, Tanner Muse
This is by far the thinnest group on the roster. Tanner Muse is an inside linebacker in name only. He is almost exclusively a special teams player. If the Steelers were to add another player anywhere on this team, it will most likely be another inside linebacker. Stay tuned.
Patrick Pederson, Levi Wallace, Joey Porter Jr., Cory Trice, Duke Dawson, Luq Barcoo
It will be fascinating to see how this team addresses the slot corner position. Early on in camp, the Steelers are throwing numbers at it to see what sticks. No less than five players have lined up there in only three days of practice. Our shot in the dark is that a combination of Duke Dawson, Elijah Riley, and Patrick Pederson are used over the course of the season.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Elijah Riley
The inclusion of Tanner Muse, combined with all the moving parts in the secondary means that Miles Killebrew’s roster spot is in jeopardy. Elijah Riley is quietly making himself too valuable as a depth safety piece, and a slot corner candidate. He’s in, Killebrew is out.
Chris Boswell, Braden Mann, Christian Kuntz
The free ride for Pressley Harvin has come to the end as the Steelers added real competition in the likes of Braden Mann. This battle will come down to the wire, but we believe Harvin’s inconsistency will be his undoing. Same goes for Christian Kuntz. He will need a strong training camp to keep his roster spot.
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