With the Pittsburgh Steelers reporting to the Saint Vincent College in Latrobe on Tuesday for the start of their 2022 training camp, it’s time for me to finally throw out 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.
My next stab at the Steelers 53-man roster will likely be posted right before the team’s first preseason game. After that, one will come one after each and every preseason game.
Quarterbacks (3) – Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett
Analysis: It’s weird not having Ben Roethlisberger in here. The big question with the quarterback group revolves around if the team will trade away Rudolph before Week 1. If they do, they next big question revolves around if they would keep three quarterbacks in total with rookie Chris Oladokun being the third. For now, I have Rudolph staying and Oladokun going to the practice squad.
Running Backs (3) – Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Mataeo Durant
Analysis: Like it or not, Snell is going to be tough to unseat from the roster as he has experience and is also more than decent on special teams. If the steelers don’t sign another veteran running back before Week 1, I like Durant’s chances of making the 53-man roster as the third running back as an undrafted rookie over Anthony McFarland Jr., who I have going to the practice squad.
Fullbacks (1) – Derek Watt
Analysis: The Steelers certainly need to get more out of Watt on offense than they did in 2021. He is a top-notch special teams player and that should be enough to allow him to stick around one more season.
Wide Receivers (6) – Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Gunner Olszewski
Analysis: The Steelers drafted two wide receivers this year in Pickens and Austin and they both are obvious locks along with Johnson and Claypool. Olszewski is more of a special teamer and seems destined to be on the 53-man roster as at least the returner. Will the Steelers keep six wide receivers in total. If they do, I have Boykin grabbing that spot as he can also play on special teams.
Tight Ends (3) – Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward
Analysis: Freiermuth and Gentry are givens. As for the rookie Heyward, he’s more fullback and core special team than anything else. He is far from a lock for sure.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Chukwuma Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr., James Daniels, Mason Cole, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, J.C. Hassenauer, Trent Scott
Analysis: The Steelers shook up their offensive line this offseason with the additions of Daniels and Cole. The battle in training camp for the left guard spot will be between Dotson and Green with the loser still likely making the 53-man roster. assuming the team keeps nine offensive linemen in total, the final three spots could go in several various directions. I have the newcomer Scott as a wild card to grab the last spot for now.
Defensive Linemen (6) – Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Larry Ogunjobi, Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, DeMarvin Leal
Analysis: These six sure do seem to be the six barring injuries and if so, that makes Montravius Adams the odd man out. The team usually just keeps six defensive linemen in total, but nothing says that they can’t keep seven. For now, I have Adams winding up on the practice squad.
Inside Linebackers (5) – Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Marcus Allen
Analysis: Once you get past Jack and Bush, the inside linebacker depth chart is wide open. Allen has experience as the up-man on the punt team so that needs consideration. Spillane has experience and is a very good special teams player. Johnson needs to stay healthy and show he can be a core special teamer. For now, I have rookie draft pick Mark Robinson going to the practice squad along with Ulysees Gilbert III.
Outside Linebackers (4) – T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Genard Avery, Derrek Tuszka
Analysis: I sure hope the Steelers add another veteran outside linebacker that can rush the passer by Week 1. If they do, Tuszka likely becomes the odd man out and then winds up on the practice squad.
Cornerbacks (5) – Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, Justin Layne
Analysis: The top three of Sutton, Witherspoon and Wallace are set. Layne is hanging on by a thread because of his special teams play. Maulet is hanging around due to his experience. Those last two spots are far from locks, however. I have James Pierre going to the practice squad to start the season along with undrafted rookie Chris Steele.
Safeties (5) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew, Damontae Kazee
Analysis: Will the Steelers keep 10 defensive backs in total on their 53-man roster this year? Well, might thought is that they will. Norwood and Killebrew feel like locks with the latter being more of a special teams ace. Norwood and Kazee also are versatile players with the latter not necessarily a lock to make the 53-man roster. It will be quite interesting to see how the defensive back room shakes out come Week 1.
Kicker (1) – Chris Boswell
Analysis: Barring an injury, Boswell is a lock again this season. Look for him to sign a contract extension before Week 1.
Punter (1) – Pressley Harvin III
Analysis: The Steelers drafted Harvin and his rookie season wasn’t all that. The hope is that he can rebound in 2022 and become one of the NFL’s top 10 punters. He certainly needs a great training camp and preseason to prevent the Steelers from looking for a veteran later in the summer.
Long Snapper (1) – Christian Kuntz
Analysis: Last summer, Kuntz beat out the incumbent long snapper Kameron Canaday and never looked back. He doesn’t even have any real competition as camp starts this year so barring injury, he should be the Steelers long snapper again by Week 1.
Practice Squad: The biggest surprise to most of you when it comes to these 16 players is that includes the likes of Adams, McFarland, and Pierre. The group of 16 includes two of this year’s draft picks in Oladokun and Robinson. additionally, it includes three rookie undrafted free agents in Chris Owens, Tyree Johnson, and Chris Steele. It’s a good bet that the 16-man practice squad ultimately includes one or two players not currently under contract with the Steelers.
Summary: A lot of these 53-man roster projected players are quite obvious ones. There is, however, quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to about 10 other spots in total. It’s still highly likely that at least one player on the team’s Week 1 53-man roster will wind up being a player currently not under contract. Possibly even two players.
|Steelers 2022 53-Man Roster Prediction|
|24||Benny Snell Jr.||RB|
|19||Calvin Austin III||WR|
|65||Dan Moore Jr.||T|
|6||Pressley Harvin III||P|
|26||Anthony McFarland Jr.||RB|
|54||Ulysees Gilbert III||ILB|
|57||Montravius Adams Sr.||DT|