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Marczi: 2022 Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Final

Three preseason games under our belts, we still have a lot of questions when trying to weigh what the initial 53-man roster will look like. Some questions were answered, but others raised due to health status uncertainties. For my purposes, I will be guessing what the initial 53-man roster will look like after any moves are made to place players on the Reserve/Injured List with a return designation; I project only one player to meet that criterion: safety Damontae Kazee. Position listings are not depth chart rankings.

Offense (25):

Quarterback (3): Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett

This wasn’t going to change, and the only way it’s going to is if the Steelers find a good offer for Rudolph. And even that doesn’t guarantee a move, because they’ll have to have another quarterback they’re comfortable with. Especially behind this line, they’ll want three quarterbacks who know the system.

Running Back (4): Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Jaylen Warren, Derek Watt

Nothing that occurred last night makes me change my mind here. The past two preseason games have been pretty tame on the running back front. In other words, Anthony McFarland Jr. hasn’t really made that push for a roster spot we thought he might after the first preseason game.

Wide Receiver (6): Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, Gunner Olszewski, Miles Boykin

I have the same 53 here, but there is some question as to whether or not Austin could potentially be an IR candidate for return. Put simply, we do not have a clear picture of what his practice status is right now. He may or may not be participating in practice at some level. Either way, I wouldn’t expect him to miss more than a few more weeks at an absolute maximum in terms of his physical health. But he’ll be a scratch for a while.

Tight End (3): Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward

The Steelers finally began moving Connor Heyward around this week and we did see that a bit in last night’s game. Meanwhile, Kevin Rader has grown even a bit more quiet, not really pushing for this job.

Offensive Line (9): Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Chukwuma Okorafor, Joe Haeg, Kendrick Green, J.C. Hassenauer, Trent Scott

I didn’t want to do it, but the Steelers are desperate for linemen who arguably know what they’re doing, and at the very least, Trent Scott knows what Pat Meyer does. He probably brings the coach’s stuff in from the car every morning.

Defense (25):

Defensive Line (7): Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Montravius Adams, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk

I’m not convinced that they go so heavy here with seven defensive linemen, especially with the health of Adams and Loudermilk in question, but for now, I’m sticking with it.

Inside Linebacker (4): Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Mark Robinson

This was the decision I wrestled with the most, and I still have a lot of questions about it. Marcus Allen—how healthy is he? Can they waived him without an injury designation? If they can’t, then he just reverts to the Reserve/Injured List, which is not what I want, though they could work out an injury settlement.t

Outside Linebacker (4): T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Hamilcar Rashed Jr.

Genard Avery is out, Rashed is in. He has been intriguing since he first stepped onto the field—and is one of two players making this 53-man roster after joining the team in training camp.

Cornerback (5): Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, James Pierre

I think this is a solid group, provided that everybody is healthy. With Kazee’s injury, it also makes Maulet more important.

Safety (5): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew, Elijah Riley

The very unfortunate Kazee injury last night prompts this move. I think Riley did enough to stick, at least initially. As for Killebrew, like I’ve been writing, they signed him to play special teams. I’m betting that he’s not far from participation.

Specialists (3):

Kicker: Chris Boswell: How many different ways can I write about how obvious these decisions are, given that there aren’t even any challengers?

Punter: Pressley Harvin III: Ditto.

Long Snapper: Christian Kuntz: And ditto again.

Practice Squad (16):

QB Chris Oladokun; RB Anthony McFarland Jr.; WR Cody White; WR Tyler Vaughns; TE Kevin Rader; OL John Leglue; OL William Dunkle; DL Khalil Davis; DL Carlos Davis; ILB Marcus Allen; ILB Buddy Johnson; OLB Delontae Scott; Ron’Dell Carter; CB Justin Layne; CB Chris Steele; DB Linden Stephens

Many changes this time around, the most notable of which is Steven Sims being gone. Why? Frankly, I expect, or at least hope, the Steelers can trade him for a draft pick. Otherwise he may end up getting claimed. But I don’t expect him to make the 53-man roster. Good news for Tyler Vaughns. Carlins Platel’s injury also sucks. Donovan Stiner is gone, too, so that benefits Linden Stephens. With Rashed on the 53 and Avery gone, it’s Carter up next. Trent Scott now on the 53, and I added William Dunkle. I know Oladokun was cut earlier, but hey, they could need him if they trade Rudolph in-season at come point. And Allen resurfaces on the practice squad.

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