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Marczi: 2019 53-Man Roster Prediction – Post-Second Preseason Game Edition

Offense (25)

Quarterbacks (3) – Ben RoethlisbergerMason Rudolph, Joshua Dobbs

Analysis: I’m very tempted to make a change here, just for the sake of it. It’s still a longshot that the Steelers would carry Devlin Hodges over Dobbs—more likely, they would try to trade him—but there are still two games for him to state his case.

Running Backs (3) – James ConnerJaylen SamuelsBenny Snell Jr.

Analysis: Trey Edmunds is a complete player whose skill set extends into special teams, but I still don’t see this group changing barring injury. He’ll be an easy transaction away on the practice squad, most likely, if need be.

Fullbacks (1) – Roosevelt Nix

Analysis: Wake me up when this is ever worth delving into. Nix is the fullback.

Wide Receivers (6) – JuJu Smith-SchusterDonte MoncriefJames WashingtonDiontae JohnsonEli Rogers, Diontae Spencer

Analysis: I’m going to branch out a little bit for this one and deviate from my standard approach of trying to emulate what I think the Steelers’ mindset is at every given moment for these predictions. I’m going to predict that Spencer will do enough over the course of the final two games to give the team the motivation to keep him over two very similar players. I think the possibility of Johnson as a returner also shields them a bit from losing Switzer’s return attributes. I don’t see Tevin Jones or Johnny Holton doing enough to make the team.

Tight Ends (3) – Vance McDonaldXavier GrimbleZach Gentry

Analysis: It’s too bad for Gentry that he missed the last game, but there is nobody else pushing him. Until that changes, this is the group. Christian Scotland-Williamson is right there alongside him with injuries on the sideline.

Offensive Linemen (9) – Maurkice PounceyDavid DeCastroRamon FosterAlejandro VillanuevaMatt Feiler, B.J. FinneyChukwuma OkoraforFred Johnson, Zach Banner

Analysis: I’m less confident this week than I was last week that this is going to be the group, but more so because I’m not convinced they’ll keep nine than because I think somebody else will take up a spot. Something to watch over the final two weeks, but for now I still think this is the most likely outcome.

Defense (25)

Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron HeywardStephon TuittJavon HargraveTyson AlualuDaniel McCullersIsaiah Buggs

Analysis: It was pretty nice of Buggs to come in and look like he could actually contribute this year, making this an easier discussion. Still, McCullers has done well, and likely will be the fifth defensive lineman on gamedays for now.

Inside Linebackers (5) – Vince WilliamsDevin Bush, Mark Barron, Tyler Matakevich, Ulysees Gilbert III

Analysis: This isn’t changing just yet, but of course it can be in flux. Gilbert’s second preseason wasn’t as explosive, but he still made plays in subtle ways, including some nice work in coverage. Matakevich gave up a pass in coverage that reminds you why he’s a special teams player.

Outside Linebackers (4) – Bud DupreeT.J. WattAnthony ChickilloOlasunkanmi Adeniyi

Analysis: Tuzar Skipper has two solid games’ worth of tape now. On defense. The coaches now have to decide how much they like him, and we’ll see that based on how many snaps on special teams he gets over the next two games.

Cornerbacks (6) – Joe HadenSteven NelsonMike HiltonArtie BurnsJustin LayneCameron Sutton

Analysis: This group is etched in stone.  Layne had a better game, Burns played well, as did Nelson in his Steelers debut. The secondary as a whole was solid against the Chiefs.

Safeties (4) – Sean DavisTerrell EdmundsMarcus AllenKameron Kelly

Analysis: Still siding with Marcus Allen over Jordan Dangerfield, but a bit like Spencer, this is more of a prediction of the next two games, especially the finale, rather than where they are right now.

Specialists (3)

Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell

Analysis: Nothing has changed, so I’m keeping my analysis the same: I’m not sure this is even a two-man competition anymore. As long as Boswell doesn’t start shanking everything, he is going to be the kicker. And if he does, the kicker probably won’t be Matthew Wright.

Punter (1) – Jordan Berry

Analysis: Ian Berryman has a big leg, but there is reason to worry about his placement. His first punt against the Chiefs was a directional punt that traveled just 37 yards to reach the 30-yard line. His second punt, a 35-yarder that bounced out at the 13, was better, taking an unfavorable bounce as well. That’s not enough to win a job, but Berry hasn’t been great either, so the door is still open entering the final two weeks.

Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday

Analysis: Canaday is essentially uncontested, so this isn’t really a discussion.

Practice Squad (11)

Trey EdmundsTevin JonesDerwin Gray, Patrick MorrisChristian Scotland-WilliamsonHenry MondeauxJordan DangerfieldP.J. LockeTuzar Skipper, Sutton Smith, Devlin Hodges

I’m going off the map here and predicting that the Steelers keep four quarterbacks, Hodges on the practice squad. This probably isn’t going to happen. But let’s face it, they’re probably going to sign three or four players from other 90-man rosters to be on their practice squad anyway, so a lot of this is going to be wrong. Above, I moved Spencer to the 53 and left it at just one practice squad receiver to accommodate the addition of Hodges. I swapped out Lavon Hooks for Mondeaux as well, who has been the better performer. The same for Morris versus J.C. Hassenauer. The rest is the same from last week.

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