Change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s out of necessity and sometimes it’s out of circumstances. But from the time the Steelers arrived in Latrobe at the end of July for the 2019 training camp to their bye in Week 7 of the NFL season, there of been an awful lot of changes to this team, many of which were unpredictable. Even the Steelers depth chart from when it was first released before Week 1 has undergone many swaps and shuffling. So here are some of the changes that have occurred with the Steelers by position on the depth chart from the time they played their first regular-season game until now:
Losses: Ben Roethlisberger (Injured Reserve), Josh Dobbs (trade)
Additions: Devlin Hodges (free agent), Paxton Lynch (free agent)
The Steelers quarterback depth chart the opening week of the season of Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Josh Dobbs, now looks completely different with Rudolph as the starter and Devlin Hodges and Paxton Lynch in the reserve roles. Week 6 in Los Angeles had only Hodges and Lynch active, two players who were not with any NFL team in Week 1.
Additions: Trey Edmunds (promotion)
While the Steelers still have the same running backs in the building, Roosevelt Nix has been out since Week 1 and Jaylen Samuels will still need more time to recover from his surgery. Therefore the addition of Trey Edmunds from the practice squad is the only real change.
Losses: Xavier Grimble (Injured Reserve, then released)
Additions: Nick Vannett (trade)
Vance McDonald is still the first option when healthy, but the trade for Nick Vannett after Week 3 has bolstered the depth at the position moving forward.
Since adding Johnny Holton the day before the Steelers opened the season, the position group has not changed in personnel. But the depth chart has definitely evolved. Donte Moncrief has gone from the top of one of the receiver positions to bottom man on the list as James Washington and Johnny Holton are listed ahead of him. Although pegged as a starter, Diontae Johnson is technically listed behind JuJu Smith-Schuster at the other wide receiving option with Ryan Switzer behind them.
Losses: Fred Johnson (waivers)
This group has had very little change with the only issue being the loss of Fred Johnson to the Cincinnati Bengals when the Steelers had to make roster moves going into Week 6. The biggest issue with losing Johnson is B.J. Finney is now the back up at all the interior line positions. If more than one player should go down, Matt Feiler, who is having a great year at right tackle, would be forced to play inside.
Losses: Stephon Tuitt (Injured Reserve)
Additions: L.T. Walton
It was early in the game in Week 6 when Stephon Tuitt left due to injury, so the Steelers will not enter a game with their starting defensive end absent until after the bye. The corresponding move brought back L.T. Walton who will most likely be listed as the reserve for Tyson Alualu who will slide up into Tuitt’s starting role at least on paper. What is unclear is who will be in line for a helmet on gameday between Walton and rookie Isaiah Buggs.
Losses: Tuzar Skipper (waivers), Jayrone Elliott (released)
Additions: Jayrone Elliott (free agent)
One of the few differences for the Steelers in this position group is the loss of Tuzar Skipper just before the Week 1 game when the Steelers exposed him to waivers. The Steelers have also brought in and released Jayrone Elliott as someone who can fill-in due to injury. Currently Anthony Chickillo is listed as the back up to T.J. Watt while Olasunkanmi Adeniyi is behind Bud Dupree.
The personnel have not changed, but the question still remains even on the Steelers current depth chart as to exactly who is ahead of whom. With nothing made official, Mark Barron is still ahead of Devin Bush on the depth chart, although their exact position does not seem to be of the upmost importance. Tyler Matakevich and Ulysees Gilbert III both fall in line behind Vince Williams. While this is the official list by the Steelers, the way they played their personnel did not agree since when Vince Williams was out Bush and Baron were the starters.
Although there have been no personnel changes within this group, or any change in the official depth chart, the usage of these players has been intriguing. The Steelers are finding ways to get Cameron Sutton onto the field in various sub packages both with and in place of Mike Hilton. While Justin Lane is listed as the back up for Joe Haden, when Haden was out at the end of the Chargers game it was Sutton who played on the outside.
Losses: Sean Davis (Injured Reserve)
Additions: Minkah Fitzpatrick (trade)
This is one position group that has made a major improvement since the first week. Although Sean Davis began the season as the top man at free safety, he did not play in Week 1 so Kam Kelly got the start. Davis returned for Week 2 only to end up on Injured Reserve. The trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick has inserted him as the starter since Week 3.
There have been no changes to the specialty positions, although the Steelers have divided up the labor a little bit when it comes to kick and punt returns. Although not noted on the depth chart, Johnny Holton has been rotating in to return kickoffs while Diontae Johnson has gotten a few opportunities to return punts.