The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to play the Tennessee Titans in the third preseason game for both teams on Sunday night. There is still much to be determined until the final cut-down date of August 31st but for the most part the roster is starting to clear up. Here’s our latest 53-man projection for the Steelers’ Roster.
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges
My Thinking: Rudolph has done enough to show me he’s a better back up than Dobbs who I believe has reached his ceiling. Hodges could be put on the practice squad too leaving just two QBs if Dobbs is cut or traded.
Running Backs (4) – James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell, Roosevelt Nix
My Thinking: Other than the Specialists this is the easiest to predict. Pretty straightforward with these four.
Tight Ends (3) – Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble, Kevin Rader
My Thinking: Obviously the Steelers want the third tight end to be Zach Gentry but Rader’s blocking has been better. I still think the team finds a veteran number two in the next week or so. For now, Gentry to the Practice Squad.
Offensive Line (9) – Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, B.J. Finney, Chuks Okorafor, Fred Johnson, Zach Banner
My Thinking: Johnson has been too impressive not to make the roster. Banner is limited because he’s exclusively a right tackle. I think both guys make it but getting a helmet each week is doubtful.
Wide Receivers (6) – JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, James Washington, Ryan Switzer, Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers
My Thinking: The Steelers use a ton of 11 personnel which means three wideouts, a running back and a tight end. They will also use a lot of four wide receiver sets too. Therefore, being a third or fourth wideout still means you’re going to see some snaps. Mike Tomlin’s love of Rogers is honestly the only reason he makes the roster. Diontae Spencer has shown well as a punt returner but his receiving has been questionable.
Defensive Line (6)– Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Dan McCullers, Isaiah Buggs
My Thinking: There is a real possibility that the Steelers go with just five defensive linemen in an effort to keep an extra linebacker but I’m going to stay with six for now. Lavon Hooks’ injury opens the door for rookie Buggs.
Linebackers (9) – T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo, Ola Adeniyi, Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Tyler Matakevic, Ulysees Gilbert
My Thinking: You have to go back to the Cowher years where the team kept ten LBs but there’s a possibility here. If Chickillo’s injury will cost him any time then Tuzar Skipper, who has had a very nice Camp and preseason could be added. Matakevich remains as the cornerstone of Danny Smith’s special teams’ units.
Defensive Backs (10) – Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Artie Burns, Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Justin Layne, Cam Sutton, Kam Kelly, Jordan Dangerfield
My Thinking: I have to believe that if the Steelers could add a safety from off the street they would. For now though they’ll go with four and six corners.
Long Snapper (1) – Kam Canaday
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Place Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
My Thinking: Not much to think about here. Boswell has rebounded nicely so far while Berry is what he is. Get ready for decent “inside the 20” punts and not much else.
The odds that I have this 100% correct are slim. There will be injuries, unexpected cuts for numerous purposes and potentially trades. But as we stand now, this is my best guess.