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Updating the Steelers 53-man depth chart: Pre-free agency

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Taking a stab at the Steelers’ 53-man roster heading into free agency.

Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

With free agency right around the corner and the NFL draft less than two months away, how does the Pittsburgh Steelers depth chart stack up right now? The Steelers have made offseason moves with trading disgruntled wideout Antonio Brown, re-signing starting left guard Ramon Foster and a host of others.

The moves are far from over with the depth chart in disarray. With the start of free agency just a few days away the question is on everyone’s mind is, how active will the Steelers be? That depends on how much of the salary cap will be available. The cap stands under $20 million. That figure does not include offseason moves such as the draft class. One thing is for certain, the fans do not want to head into 2019 with the following making up the team’s roster.

Offense

Quarterbacks (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Dobbs, and Mason Rudolph.

Question marks remain after future Hall of Famer, Roethlisberger.

Running back (3): James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, and Trey Edmunds

Only three on the roster as it stands. Will competition be brought in via the draft, free agency or undrafted players?

Fullback (1): Roosevelt Nix

Nix looks to keep his limited role within the Steelers organization for another season.

Wide receiver (6): JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Ryan Switzer, Trey Griffey, Eli Rogers, and Dontae Spencer.

If there are a few players you have not heard before or are unfamiliar with, join the club. Not one Steeler fan wants to go into the 2019 season passing the ball 70% of the time with this lot.

Tight end (3): Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble, and Bucky Hodges.

Other players could be put in for the third spot but how much confidence would any fan have with them or after the off-injured McDonald?

Offensive line (): Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Chukwuma Okorafor, Matt Feiler, Jerald Hawkins, BJ Finney

With the resigning of Foster and the trade of Markice Gilbert, the starting front five looks set. Feiler will not make fans forget Gilbert when he was healthy, but he performed well enough for him to be penciled in as the starting right tackle. Okorafor showed promise in his one start last season but was given help along the way. Will Hawkins finally remain healthy?

Defense

Defensive line (6): Cameron Heyward, Javon Hargrave, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Conor Sheehy, and Lavon Hooks.

The starting three are some better in the NFL and Alualu has proven to be a quality backup. The depth afterward is downright slim and in need of serious upgrading.

Outside linebacker (5): Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo, Ola Adeniyi and Keion Adams.

Many BTSC fans want to part ways with Bud Dupree due to his production level and his 2019 $9.2 million salary. I hope those fans have a backup plan for his position and depth than what is under contract now.

Inside linebacker (4): Jon Bostic, Vince Williams, Tyler Matakevich, and Keith Kelsey

The weakest grouping by far on the roster. Would fans trust any of these players covering Kareem Hunt or David Njoku, let alone trying to stop Hunt or Joe Mixon in the running game? Bostic is the best run stopper of the group and may not even be in Pittsburgh in September as his usage was limited down the stretch last season.

Cornerbacks (6): Joe Haden, Artie Burns, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Brian Allen, and Herb Waters.

Burns went down in flames in 2018 but will he be able to bounce back? The spot should be filled by someone not on the team. Will that happens via the draft or free agency?

Safety (5): Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Morgan Burnett, Marcus Allen, and Marcelis Branch. (Branch is not listed at Ourlads as Jordan Dangerfield and Malik Golden are not under contract.)

Morgan Burnett will probably be on his way out of Pitt not long after the new league years starts. That move will lead to questionable depth behind the starters.

Special teams

Kicker and Punter (1): Chris Boswell

Boz may be on the hot seat for his job in 2019, but as of now, he holds down both duties with no punter on the roster.

Long snapper (1): Kameron Canaday

Canaday beat out fan favorite Colin Holba for snapping duties in 2019. Not remembering his name being called last season is a good thing.

As was mentioned above, the Steelers do not have a punter on the roster, so only 52 of the 53 roster positions are filled.

The above depth chart is going to vastly change in the coming two months with new free agent additions, signing of more players who were on the 2018 roster and the draft class.

Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan have their work cut out this offseason because of the team’s salary cap under $20 million and players right now making the 53 man roster who may not even make the Steelers practice squad let alone other teams.