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Updating the Steelers’ defensive depth chart throughout free agency

After the various comings and goings, where do the Steelers stand at each position on defense?

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

As the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to shape their 2021 roster, some things become a little more clear as others still have plenty of questions. Looking specifically at the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers have retained several of their free agents in Robert Spillane and Cassius Marsh while signing Unrestricted Free Agent Miles Killebrew. Additionally, the Steelers released cornerback Steven Nelson.

While it is still very early in the process, let’s look at the Steelers defensive depth chart, by position. Although the Steelers retained a large portion of their practice squad and signed others to Reserve/Futures contracts, we will be focusing for now on just those players who spent significant time on the Steelers 53-man roster in 2020 and anyone added from other teams.

Defensive Line
Cameron Heyward
Stephon Tuitt
Chris Wormley
Carlos Davis
Isaiah Buggs
Henry Mondeaux

T.J. Watt
Alex Highsmith
Cassius Marsh

Devin Bush
Robert Spillane
Ulysees Gilbert III
Marcus Allen
Miles Killebrew

Joe Haden
Cam Sutton
Justin Layne
James Pierre

Minkah Fitzpatrick
Terrell Edmunds
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Miles Killebrew

While some may put Marcus Allen on the safety depth chart, he is listed as an inside linebacker on so that is where he will be placed for now. Miles Killebrew has been listed as both a linebacker and defensive back on, so he is currently placed on the depth chart at inside linebacker and safety.

As you can see, while the Steelers do have enough players to fill out most of their positions should they have to take the field with this roster, there are positions such as outside linebacker where the Steelers do not likely have enough reserves at the moment. Of course, there is a spot or two where an upgrade would be welcomed or even necessary via free agency or the draft. With the Steelers usually keeping right around 25 defensive players on their 53-man roster to begin the season, there are obviously more additions which will be needed between now an training camp. Just looking purely at the numbers, there should be no less than four players on defense who will be on the Steelers 53-man roster in September who are not currently on this list. Spots could still be filled by players on their roster who signed futures contracts, free agent signings, or players added via the draft or as undrafted free agents.

So what position group stand out as being nearly complete moving forward? Which ones do the Steelers have the most work to do? Give your thoughts in the comments below.