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Updating the Steelers’ defensive depth chart as the draft approaches

As the NFL draft quickly approaches, where do the Steelers stand at each position on defense?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katharine Lotze/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 only signed one player with NFL experience since the last update. Fortunately, that signing was significant as Tyson Alualu decided not to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars and return to Pittsburgh.

While the upcoming NFL draft will help fill out the various needs, let’s look at the Steelers defensive depth chart by position in order to give a better grasp on where the Steelers need to add pieces. 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 who has appeared in NFL games.

Defensive Line
Cameron Heyward
Stephon Tuitt
Tyson Alualu
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 both inside linebacker and safety.

As you can see, while the Steelers do have enough players to fill out most of their starting positions should they have to take the field with this roster, there are positions such as outside linebacker where the Steelers do not 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 more additions which will be needed between now an training camp. Just looking purely at the numbers, there should be no less than three players on defense who will be on the Steelers 53-man roster in September who are not currently on this list, assuming that all the current players make the team. Spots could still be filled by players on their roster who signed futures contracts, free agent signings, or rookies 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.