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Updating the Steelers wide receiver and cornerback depth charts after Day 2 of the NFL draft

Both positions the Steelers drafted on Friday pushed their numbers into the double digits.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After drafting Diontae Johnson and Justin Layne in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft, the Steelers currently have ten wide receivers and eleven cornerbacks on the roster. The projected depth chart for these positions for the Steelers is as follows:

Wide Receivers

  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  2. Donte Moncrief
  3. James Washington
  4. Diontae Johnson
  5. Eli Rogers
  6. Ryan Switzer
  7. Trey Griffey
  8. Ka’Raun White
  9. Tevin Jones
  10. Diontae Spencer

Coming off a Pro Bowl season, JuJu Smith-Schuster is locked into the top wide receiver spot regardless of where he lines up. The addition of Donte Moncrief in free agency gives another receiver on the outside. Both Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer are players who primarily worked the slot position in their time with the Steelers as a part of the 53-man roster, as well returning kicks.

As for Deonte Johnson, he will have the opportunity to work the outside position going into rookie minicamp. Being a third-round selection, his roster spot should not be in question. Additionally, he has the potential for punt and kick returns.

Trey Griffey and Tevin Jones spent the 2018 season on the Steelers practice squad. Both Ka’raun White and Diontae Spencer we’re signed to futures contract with the Steelers in January 2019. All four players have a long road to the 53-man roster.

In 2018, the Steelers kept seven wide receivers on the roster to begin the season. Unsure if Deonte Johnson will work as an outside or slot receiver, either Eli Rogers or Ryan Switzer could be expendable. With the bottom of the roster not much more than practice squad players, the Steelers could add another receiver either late to the draft or as an undrafted free agent.


  1. Joe Haden
  2. Steven Nelson
  3. Mike Hilton
  4. Artie Burns
  5. Cameron Sutton
  6. Justin Layne
  7. Brian Allen
  8. Herb Waters
  9. Marcelis Branch
  10. Kam Kelly
  11. Jack Tocho

The cornerback room may be the most crowded one on the Steelers roster at the moment. Only keeping five to begin the 2018 season, the Steelers already have that many players returning plus the addition of Steven Nelson in free agency. Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Artie Burns, and Cam Sutton spent all of 2018 on the Steelers roster while Brian Allen was on the practice squad and was later promoted in Week 5. Herb Waters was then signed as Allen’s replacement on the practice squad.

Marcelis Branch has bounced around on various practice squads briefly the past two seasons before signing a futures contract with the Steelers. Both Kam Kelly and Jack Toncho come to the Steelers via the AAF. All three players have been listed as both cornerbacks and safeties at various points in their career, so which position on the depth chart they belong is debatable.

Steven Nelson was signed in the off-season to start opposite of Joe Haden, replacing Cody Sensabaugh. With Mike Hilton holding down the slot corner position as one of the tops in the league, the Steelers can only forward to keep, at most, three additional corners. Justin Lane will be given every opportunity to earn playing time, so Artie burns, Cam Sutton, and Brian Allen are most likely fighting for on or two spots. The final four spots on the depth chart are long shots to even make the practice squad.

Layne comes to the Steelers with a lot of upside, but with the need for development. Luckily for him, the Steelers should not have to call on Layne for significant playing time to begin the 2019 season.