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Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 NFL Draft class jersey numbers

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BTSC guesses which numbers will be assigned to each new drafted Steeler.

Minnesota Vikings v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A number is an athlete’s identity. Some free agent arrivals try to pay big bucks to get the same number they’ve worn elsewhere. But for rookies, a lot of times they are at the mercy of the equipment managers. Join us as BTSC continues our fun tradition of predicting what digits the new Pittsburgh Steelers draft class will proudly represent.

ILB Devin Bush - Michigan

NCAA Football: Air Force at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 10

Projected Number: 55

Level of Certainty: The Highest

Like Ryan Shazier, Bush wore No. 10 at the conclusion of his college career. There’s no way they would give Bush No. 50, it’s technically still occupied. Plus it would be wrong for so many reasons. Before he announced it, I deduced that Bush would wear either No. 55 or No. 40 in Steel City, with my leaning toward Jerry O and Peezy’s old digits. Seems like that’s what it’s going to be. Bush will wear it well.


WR Diontae Johnson - Toledo

MAC Championship - Akron v Toledo Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

College Number: 3

Projected Number: 82

Level of Certainty: Medium

Johnson wore both No. 3 and No. 19 in college. Slapping a one in front would work, but James Washington dons that digit and No. 19 is becoming a staple of the team with JuJu Smith-Schuster becoming a face of the Steelers. With all of the comparisons to the departed Antonio Brown, they could give him No. 84. But why put that kind of pressure on the kid? No. 82 is still a good receiver’s set of numbers.


CB Justin Layne - Michigan State

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 2

Projected Number: 24

Level of Certainty: Fairly High

No. 22 would be logical for Layne, having worn “the deuce” as a Spartan, but Steven Nelson is “double deuces” since his No. 20 at KC is occupied by Cam Sutton. No. 24 has been worn by great Steeler corners like Ike Taylor and J.T. Thomas. Lets hope Layne finds good company with those players.


RB Bennie Snell Jr. - Kentucky

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 26

Projected Number: 26

Level of Certainty: High

Since Snell has already been seen posing with a two-six and homemade BSJ Steeler jerseys have appeared on social media, this seems like a no-brainer.


TE Zach Gentry - Michigan

NCAA Football: Michigan at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 83

Projected Number: 81

Level of Certainty: Fairly Certain

The No. 83 that Gentry sported in the maize and blue is being occupied by WR Diontae Spencer. Spencer has a long road to make the team, so Gentry could walk into his old digits later should he make it. But for now, he takes over the No. 81 from another really tall Big Ten TE drafted to the Steelers in Round 5. Ironically, Jesse James is playing football in the state of Michigan.


EDGE Sutton Smith - Northern Illinois

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 15

Projected Number: 54

Level of Certainty: None at all

Would have gone double-fives here, but another LB snagged it here. The Steelers lately have had a tendency to give rookie LBs a number in the forties. However, 54 is a good fit for a linebacker.


DL Isaiah Buggs - Alabama

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 49

Projected Number: 96

Level of Certainty: Medium

No. 49 is occupied by two dudes right now and not a defensive lineman’s digits, so give Buggs the last number left in the 90s.


LB Ulysses Gilbert III - Akron

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Akron David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 5

Projected Number: 51

Level of Certainty: Medium

Ulysses is a linebacker that will need to make the team via special teams. For some reason I’m getting visions of Sean Spence here. With him wearing No. 5 in college, Spence’s No. 51 seems like a good fit. Here’s hoping he plays more like the James Farrior version of No. 51 more than the aforementioned linebacker.


OL Derwin Gray - Maryland

NCAA Football: Maryland at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

College Number: 55

Projected Number: 79

Level of Certainty: Low

In my opinion, the two best OL numbers that are unoccupied are Nos. 79 and 77. Since Gray had 55 in college and it’s been spoken for by the top selection, the seventh-rounder gets back to double digits with 77.


Last year, we predicted 2 of 7. Can we top it? Check back to see how we did and weigh in below in the comments section.