My updated Pittsburgh Steelers roster prediction following their preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Camp is over and we’re two games in. As Mike Tomlin says, roster spots getting tight, time running out, and these might not change much barring injury.
If you missed it, here’s my previous Steelers’ roster prediction.
Quarterbacks (3) – Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Josh Dobbs
Analysis: I’m at the point where I want to keep Devlin Hodges in some capacity but I still don’t yet have him over Dobbs. I think you try to keep all four without cutting anyone outright. But Hodges is giving it one heck of a fight.
Running Backs (3) – James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell
Analysis: Dave Bryan makes a good case for keeping Trey Edmunds and perhaps that’s the “surprise” when it comes time for cutdowns but for now, he’s on the practice squad. A safe bet to make it there and I want better depth at other positions.
Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix
Analysis: Nix has been and remains a lock to make the team.
Wide Receivers (6) – JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers, Ryan Switzer
Analysis: Diontae Spencer and Johnny Holton are interesting names but neither have done enough to make a big enough push to remove more established players like Rogers and Switzer. Spencer really did flash in the return game and is arguably the better pure return man but Switzer offers a bit more as a receiver and I’d like to keep consistency with the group. Holton is able to separate himself as a gunner and coverage guy.
Tight Ends (3) – Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble, Zach Gentry
Analysis: One change to my 53. Said if Christian Scotland-Williamson didn’t play last week, he wouldn’t show back up on the 53. And he remains out with a hamstring injury. Gentry hasn’t played a lot but has done reasonably well for a raw, 5th round pick. The team could definitely go outside the organization to fill the #3 spot, that would be ideal, really, but the market is terribly thin. Might just be best to roll with the guys who have been in the building.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, BJ Finney, Chukwuma Okorafor, Zach Banner, Fred Johnson
Analysis: Still sticking with these nine though I might have come down on Fred Johnson a little bit based on his first two preseason games. Odds aren’t quite as strong as perhaps some think they are but his versatility, mobility, and strength are all traits worth keeping around.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs, Daniel McCullers
Analysis: No changes here. Would be crazy to think it’ll land any different. Can Buggs take snaps away from Alualu late in the year? Probably not but the talent is there. Really excited about him.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Vince Williams, Mark Barron, Devin Bush, Tyler Matakevich, Ulysees Gilbert III
Analysis: So long as Sutton Smith remains sidelined, though I think he’ll return to action this weekend, UG3 stays on this 53 man roster. Will probably be inactive once Adeniyi gets healthy but he can help out on special teams until that point.
Outside Linebackers (4) – Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Ola Adeniyi
Analysis: I like Tuzar Skipper – a lot – but don’t see room for him and he doesn’t have the special team value of UG3 and potentially Smith. Adeniyi will be inactive until he gets healthy though I can’t see this team putting him on IR-to-return the way they did in 2018.
Cornerbacks (6) – Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, Artie Burns, Justin Layne
Analysis: Still your six. Brian Allen has been alright but not enough competition to push Burns off. Layne figures to be “down” on gameday.
Safeties (4) – Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Kameron Kelly, Jordan Dangerfield
Analysis: Think there’s a 99% chance Kelly makes the roster at this point considering he’s rotating in with the 1st team nickel against 12 personnel and he could have a role in dime packages too. Sean Davis may slide down with Kelly playing FS. Marcus Allen is on the rise but Dangerfield has the longer and better special teams resume. He’s probably your upback on the punt team Week One.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: If Boz keeps kicking the way he has, he’ll be the slam-dunk choice in Week One. What happens from there? Who knows. But early signs are good.
Punter (1) – Jordan Berry
Analysis: Berry didn’t have a great week last week but Ian Berryman struggled with his placement too. Berry’s still the guy for now.
Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday
Analysis: Yes, a little weird this team has had five players long snap in camp (McDonald, Wood, Sayles, Kuntz) the others but I don’t see Canaday getting bumped out. Obviously not by any of those guys.
Practice Squad (11)
QB – Devlin Hodges
RB – Trey Edmunds
WR – Tevin Jones
TE – Christian Scotland-Williamson
OL – Derwin Gray, Patrick Morris
DL – Henry Mondeaux
OLB – Sutton Smith, Tuzar Skipper
ILB – Robert Spillane
S – Marcus Allen
Scotty takes back his International Pathway Exemption spot, though that means he can’t be activated to the 53 all season. Hodges is here. Having that 11th spot helps let you go against the grain to have a 4th QB. He’s just too good to willingly let go to another roster. You don’t cut talent.
Marcus Allen sticks around and replaces PJ Locke. Don’t normally like to put guys who made the 53 man roster previously on the practice squad the next year but the team took that path with Brian Allen last year. So there’s recent history. Dravon Askew-Henry is a sleeper too with his safety/slot versatility.