With the Pittsburgh Steelers second preseason game of 2021 now behind us and their third one on tap for Saturday night, it’s time for me to update my initial 53-man roster prediction for the team along with a 16-man practice squad prediction.
As usual, I have included some analysis underneath each position group, and I invite you to post your own differences in the comments below along with your own 53-man roster prediction.
There are a few changes in this one compared to my last offering, which I released after the team’s first preseason game.
My next stab at the Steelers 53-man roster will likely be posted right before the fourth and final preseason game.
Bryan: 2021 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post Draft Edition
Bryan: 2021 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Pre Training Camp Edition
Bryan: 2021 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post Preseason Game 1 Edition
Quarterbacks (3) — Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins
Analysis: No reason to change this three so far this summer. Roethlisberger will make his debut Saturday night and it will be interesting to see if Haskins follows him into the game and gets extended playing time against the Lions for further evaluation.
Running Backs (4) – Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Kalen Ballage
Analysis: These were my same four running backs in my last roster prediction and so far, I have no reason to change them. I look forward to seeing Snell and Ballage play Saturday night. Maybe the Steelers can get a seventh for Jaylen Samuels in the coming weeks if they are lucky.
Fullbacks (1) – Derek Watt
Analysis: No change here, either, and for obvious reasons. Watt has stayed healthy so far in minimum snaps played during the preseason. The hope is they use him more in the passing game in 2021.
Wide Receivers (5) – JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, Ray-Ray McCloud
Analysis: No changes with this five. Any chance McCloud winds up not being the lock most have him to be? Can McFarland return both kickoffs and punts? Other than his return abilities, I’m not too crazy about McCloud.
Tight Ends (3) – Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Kevin Rader
Analysis: While Zach Gentry has made progress this offseason, Rader seems like the better option to be the team’s third tight end. I have Gentry to the practice squad.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Trai Turner, Chukwuma Okorafor, Zach Banner, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, Dan Moore Jr., J.C. Hassenauer, Rashaad Coward
Analysis: I’m still keeping Coward because the team I think likes him. That said, B.J. Finney still seems like a better option plus he can play center in a pinch. I will not be surprised at all if the Steelers add a veteran center right ahead of the regular season starting. Hassenauer might not be safe.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Carlos Davis, Isaiahh Loudermilk
Analysis: These six have been the six for quite some time and I have never felt better about them barring injuries. I have Henry Mondeaux and Isaiah Buggs landing on the practice squad.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Joe Schobert, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Marcus Allen
Analysis: Hello, Schobert and goodbye Ulysees Gilbert III. I think Allen makes it because of his special teams play as the fifth inside linebacker. Allen seems destined to be the upback on punts and a core player. I have Gilbert going to the practice squad.
Outside Linebackers (4) – T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, Cassius Marsh
Analysis: I know keeping Marsh will still anger most, but I really think that’s the way the Steelers are still leaning and especially on the special teams side of things. I like have Quincy Roche and Jamir Jones a lot but if both don’t start lighting it up on special teams these last two weeks, both are likely going to the practice squad.
Cornerbacks (6) – Joe Haden, Cameron Sutton, James Pierre, Antoine Brooks Jr., Justin Layne, Arthur Maulet
Analysis: Analysis: Brooks Jr. is now official a cornerback and he is competing for the starting slot role. Layne remains on my 53 at least one more week after a better showing this past week. I am still not married to him sticking on the 53, however and the same still goes for Maulet. I still have Shakur Brown going to the practice squad.
Safeties (4) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood
Analysis: I still have a feeling that Norwood might be out if the Steelers can land a better backup free safety in the coming weeks. Norwood would then likely make it to the practice squad with ease.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: Sam Sloman is now gone and that leaves only Boswell, as expected would be the case.
Punter (1) – Pressley Harvin III
Analysis: Like last time, the rookie Harvin is my choice here but it sounds like the battle between he and Jordan Berry is close.
Long Snapper (1) – Kameron Canaday
Analysis: Canaday is still my choice again, as expected.
Summary: Still not really not married to Layne, Maulet, Norwood, and Hassenauer right now. additionally, yes, Marsh is not a stone-cold lock. I will be watching a lot of special teams tape this next week to see if a few rookies show up in that phase. I still think at least one more player not currently under contract winds up being in the Week 1 53-man roster and maybe even two. Maybe a veteran center on the cheap and a backup free safety type. Currently, Roche is still the only draft pick from this year that I do not have making the 53.
|Steelers 2021 53-Man Roster Prediction 8/11/21|
|Snell Jr., Benny||RB|
|McFarland Jr., Anthony||RB|
|Moore, Jr., Dan||T|
|Brooks Jr., Antoine||CB|
|Harvin III, Pressley||P|
|Gilbert III, Ulysees||ILB|