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

While the receivers’ room is somewhat crowded, the Steelers needed to add to their linebacking corp

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Jets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

After drafting Chase Claypool and Alex Hightower on Day 2 of the 2019 NFL draft, the Steelers currently have ten wide receivers and five outside linebackers on the roster. The projected depth chart for these positions for the Steelers is as follows:

Wide Receivers

  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  2. Diontae Johnson
  3. James Washington
  4. Chase Claypool
  5. Deon Cain
  6. Ryan Switzer
  7. Amara Darboh
  8. Quadree Henderson
  9. Jamal Custis
  10. Anthony Johnson
  11. Saeed Blacknall

Two years removed from a Pro Bowl season, JuJu Smith-Schuster looks to return to form and hold the top wide receiver spot regardless of where he lines up. With the emergence of Diontae Johnson after his rookie season along with James Washington leading the Steelers in receiving yards in 2019, the young receiving corps is looking to make a splash with the return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Adding Claypool into the mix, he instantly projects to be at worst the fourth option on the depth chart with the opportunity to move up. Giving a different option than the three receivers in front of him, Claypool can fit nicely into certain personal packages.

Dion Cain, Ryan Switzer, and Amara Darboh return to the Steelers after being on the 2019 roster. Cain was added late in the season off of the Indianapolis Colts practice squad while Switzer ended up on the Reserve/Injured list with the hopes of a return had the Steelers made the playoffs. As for Darboh, he did not dress for any games for the Steelers.

Henderson, Custis, and Johnson were all signed to futures contracts with the Steelers following the 2019 season. Blacknall comes to the Steelers via the XFL. All four of these players would be considered a longshot to make the roster but could very well be fighting for a practice squad position.

In 2019, the Steelers only kept five wide receivers on the roster to begin the season before adding a sixth the day before their first game. The top four players on the list should be considered locks to make the roster in September. It will ultimately come down to Cain, Switzer, Darboh, or the emergence of any other Steelers on the roster between now and training camp in order to fill out the rest of the receiver group for the 53-man squad.

Outside Linebacker

  1. T.J. Watt
  2. Bud Dupree
  3. Alex Highsmith
  4. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
  5. Tuzar Skipper

The Steelers are set with their starting outside linebackers with T.J. Watt coming off of an All-Pro season in which he was a finalist for defensive player of the year. Bud Dupree signed his franchise tag tender just this week and will be with the Steelers for at least the 2020 season. With an option to sign Dupree to a long-term contract up until July 15, it is unsure if Dupree will be in the black and gold in 2021.

Although Ola Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper were both on the Steelers roster in 2019, placing third-round draft pick Alex Highsmith above them on the depth chart could be a bit premature. But with the draft pedigree factored in, Highsmith will have every opportunity to fill the reserve linebacker role of Anthony Chickillo who the Steelers parted ways with following 2019.

The Steelers kept five outside linebackers on the 53-man roster to begin the 2019 season only to release Skipper the day before the Steelers opening game. After playing half the season with the New York Giants, the Steelers reacquired Skipper and continued to keep five OLBs on the roster. With the Steelers ususally keeping at least nine linebackers of both the inside and outside, every player on the current depth chart has the opportunity to make the 53-man roster.