Deconstructing The Steelers’ Roster: The Locks

A primer of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp roster as they get ready to report to Latrobe in exactly two weeks from today. I want to provide a slightly different spin on evaluating the roster. In describing their chances to make the 53, you can put any player into one of six buckets: locks, near-locks, inside-looking-out, on the bubble, outside-looking-in, and longshots.

We’ll work our way up by starting from the bottom. I’ll list the players considered longshots to make the 53-man roster, this does not include practice squad odds, with rough percentages that they will make it. This assumes if everyone stays healthy. While that won’t happen, it’s impossible to create percentages based off the unknowns that are injuries. We’ll break up each bucket into a separate article and put everything together at the end.


K Chris Boswell (100%)
WR Chase Claypool (100%)
OC Mason Cole (100%)
OG James Daniels (100%)
FS Minkah Fitzpatrick (100%)
TE Pat Freiermuth (100%)
RB Najee Harris (100%)
DT Cam Heyward (100%)
EDGE Alex Highsmith (100%)
ILB Myles Jack (100%)
WR Diontae Johnson (100%)
DL DeMarvin Leal (100%)
OT Dan Moore Jr. (100%)
OT Chukwuma Okorafor (100%)
WR George Pickens (100%)
QB Kenny Pickett (100%)
CB Cam Sutton (100%)
QB Mitch Trubisky (100%)
CB Levi Wallace (100%)
EDGE TJ Watt (100%)
OG Kevin Dotson (99%)
SS Terrell Edmunds (99%)
DL Larry Ogunjobi (99%)
TE Zach Gentry (98%)
NT Tyson Alualu (95%)
ILB Devin Bush (95%)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (95%)

The 100%’s don’t require much explanation. The only notable part is the number of them – 20 in total. That makes up 37.7% of a 53-man roster. Don’t know how that compares to other teams but it feels like a solid, though perhaps average, number.

Only seven of the locks have a little bit of wiggle room. Those are guys that in theory, a pie-in-the-sky scenario you can conjure up, if it all goes wrong, where a player wouldn’t make it. Dotson should be the team’s starting left guard but if he somehow lost that job to Kendrick Green, which means Dotson did not have a good camp, and with his lack of center experience/value, coupled with more weirdness similar to last year’s start to the summer, he could get let go. But that’s a 1% chance. Don’t dwell on it too much.

Edmunds should be the team’s starting strong safety but given his average play and super cheap contract, there’s not a ton binding the team to him should a Damontae Kazee impress or this team make an aggressive move via a cutdown or trade. Ogunjobi is projected to be a 600+ snap player, but if his foot never healed properly, then the team may have to make a decision. Again, that’s 1% stuff but theoretically possible. Gentry has little competition to be the #2 tight end but I wouldn’t quite put him in that 100% camp with other established starters. But this time a year ago, his odds looked at or under 50% so this is a big jump.

Getting Alualu back is huge for the middle of Pittsburgh’s defense. But he is 35 and coming off a serious, season-ending injury and if he’s not back into form with Montravius Adams behind, you could argue he’s cut or just straight up retires. Big year for Bush, his last chance, and if he totally sucks this summer, the team may bail. Put those odds at 5% but it’s out there. Witherspoon was the Steelers’ best cover corner down the stretch, but his career has been marked by inconsistency. If he flames out the way he did in Seattle last year, there’s always the chance the team bails given his lack of special teams value. Again, those odds are awfully low but they are not zero.

I’ll have one more post recapping this roster deconstruction later in the week.

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