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Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 53-man roster: Post preseason Week 2

With three preseason games down, have any new Steelers players made a push to land on the 53-man roster?

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL preseason is coming to a close for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Week 2 of the preseason now behind us, there has now been three chances to see most of the Steelers roster in action to help better assess which players will or will not make the final cut later this month. Based on the preseason so far, BTSC editor Dave Schofield and senior editor Jeff Hartman will give their thoughts of who will make the roster come August 31. Any changes from their last roster prediction before training camp will be noted.

As always, we welcome you to join the conversation in our comment section below this article. Let your voice be heard and join in the black-and-gold conversation!

Offense


Quarterback (3)

Dave: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins

Changes: None

Analysis: This is the list. I don’t know if anything on Friday night will change the players or the order.

Jeff: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins

Changes: None

Analysis: With both Roethlisberger and Rudolph getting Friday night off, this position group is settled with the three listed above. I’ll go as far as saying Rudolph is locked in at QB2, and Haskins at QB3.


Running Back (3, 4)

Dave: Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr, Anthony McFarland, Kalen Ballage

Changes: Benny Snell out

Analysis: There, I did it. Although he is set to play on Friday, Benny Snell no longer has a spot on this roster until he steps on the field and shows he deserves it. Therefore, I’m only going with three players.

Jeff: Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland, Kalen Ballage

Changes: None

Analysis: The only change I can foresee at this position would be if the team decides to keep Trey Edmunds as a FB/RB/H-Back. At this point, I don’t see it happening.


Fullback (1)

Dave: Derek Watt

Changes: None

Analysis: There were three places I considered adding a player by taking away a running back and this was one of them. I really like what Trey Edmonds is doing as an full/H-back in Matt Canada‘s offense. But I’m not quite ready to pull the trigger.

Jeff: Derek Watt

Changes: None

Analysis: Unless the Steelers decide to keep Trey Edmunds as a RB/FB/H-Back/Special Teams player, this position is set.


Wide Receiver (5)

Dave: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, Ray-Ray McCloud

Changes: None

Analysis: While some would like to replace Ray-Ray McCloud with Mathew Sexton based on punt returns, Sexton doesn’t have a reception in a preseason game to this point and therefore Ray-Ray holds the spot.

Jeff: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Ray-Ray McCloud

Changes: None

Analysis: Barring an injury, this is their crew in 2021.


Tight End (3)

Dave: Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry

Changes: None

Analysis: Here was the second area where I almost pulled the trigger on adding another player. While I think the Steelers could use Kevin Rader on Sundays, he’s more likely to end up on the practice squad.

Jeff: Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry

Changes: None

Analysis: Gentry has been impressive so far in training camp, but I don’t see the Steelers keeping four tight ends. I’d love for them to, but I don’t see it happening.


Offensive Line (10, 9)

Dave: Zach Banner, Chukwuma Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, Trai Turner, B.J. Finney, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, Dan Moore Jr., Rashaad Coward, J.C. Hassenauer

Changes: Rashaad Coward in

Analysis: And here it is. I simply don’t know which player on the offensive line the Steelers are going to cut. So I’m keeping 10 for the time being.

Jeff: Trai Turner, Zach Banner, Chuks Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, B.J. Finney, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, Dan Moore, J.C. Hassenauer

Changes: None

Analysis: Kendrick Green is the center, and that’s finally official. However, Hassenauer seems to have cemented himself as the team’s backup center. This creates an awkward position at guard. I think the Steelers like Finney at guard, his stronger position, and Coward is just the odd man out with Dotson back to health.

Total Offense: 25


Defense


Defensive Line (6)

Dave: Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Carlos Davis, Isaiahh Loudermilk

Changes: None

Analysis: While Isaiah Buggs looked better against the Lions, Carlos Davis was even more so. Therefore this list stays the same with Mondeaux the other possibility to stick around.

Jeff: Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Carlos Davis, Isaiahh Loudermilk

Changes: None

Analysis: I don’t see this list changing anytime soon. In fact, I think it would take an injury to change the list. Maybe they keep Isaiah Buggs or Henry Mondeaux, but there are only so many spots on the roster.


Outside Linebacker (5)

Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, Quincy Roche, Jamir Jones

Changes: None

Analysis: This is somewhere I think the Steelers could go with only four and keep an extra inside guy. But right now I don’t think they want to give up on Roche and Jamir Jones has earned a spot on both defense and special teams.

Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, Quincy Roche, Jamir Jones

Changes: None

Analysis: I think the Steelers have plenty of good special teams players, and Jones is a more well-rounded pass rusher if called upon. To me, the battle will be between Roche or Jones who gets a helmet each week.


Inside Linebacker (4)

Dave: Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson

Changes: None

Analysis: It seems like the Steelers really like Marcus Allen, but I think he doesn’t even offer enough for another team to pick him up on the waiver wire and can easily be stashed on the practice squad.

Jeff: Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Joe Schobert

Changes: None

Analysis: The Steelers didn’t play Buddy Johnson last week, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is not going to make the team. I think Johnson brings a lot of value as a special teams player and depth at ILB.


Cornerback (6, 5)

Dave: Joe Haden, Cameron Sutton, James Pierre, Justin Layne, Arthur Maulet, Mark Gilbert

Changes: Arthur Maulet in

Analysis: With no Antoine Brooks at safety also playing in the slot, it allows the Steelers to keep an extra cornerback. I now have Maulet over Brooks which I almost did last time, and I still like Mark Gilbert as the sleeper to squeeze on the roster.

Jeff: Joe Haden, Cam Sutton, James Pierre, Justin Layne, Arthur Maulet

Changes: None

Analysis: The longer camp went on, it became increasingly clear this was the Steelers cornerback room. There will be other defensive backs to make plays, but these are likely your cornerbacks in Week 1.


Safety (4, 5)

Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Antoine Brooks Jr., Tre Norwood

Changes: Antoine Brooks Jr. out

Analysis: I think these four hold it down well and that’s all the Steelers will need.

Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Antoine Brooks, Tre Norwood, Marcus Allen

Changes: Antoine Brooks Jr. out, Marcus Allen in

Analysis: With Brooks being the surprise cut Tuesday, I think this solidifies a role for Marcus Allen to make the roster.

Total Defense: 25


Special Teams


Specialists (3)

Dave: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz

Changes: None

Analysis: The fact Kuntz made the last round of cuts shows he has a legit spot to be the long snapper. And I still like Big Press to win the punting job.

Jeff: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Kameron Canaday

Changes: None

Analysis: The only thing keeping Pressley Harvin from not being written on the 53-man roster in pen, is consistency. Jordan Berry is fighting for his Steelers’ career, and he is kicking well. However, the more I watch, the more potential I see out of Harvin. I think he makes the team.


Total Team: 53


Practice Squad

Dave:
QB Josh Dobbs
RB Jaylen Samuels
RB Trey Edmunds
TE Kevin Rader
WR Ricco Bussey
WR Matthew Sexton
WR Anthony Johnson
G Derwin Gray*
T Chaz Green
DT Henry Mondeaux
DT Isaiah Buggs
ILB Ulysees Gilbert III
ILB Marcus Allen
CB Shakur Brown
CB Lafayette Pitts
S Lamont Wade

Analysis: I still did not check the status of every player to see whether or not they count as on of the six permitted veterans. I didn’t change much other than players that are no longer with the team. I did add Derwin Gray as an interesting pick up after he was cut from Jacksonville but only to land on the practice squad. Of course, by the time this article posts he may have already been claimed by another team.

Jeff:

I don’t do practice squad predictions. I don’t know enough about these fringe players to make an educated guess.

See Dave’s answer above.