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Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 53-man roster: Post Preseason Week 3

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

Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL preseason is over for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With no more chances for players to put their resume on tape, the Steelers now have to cut down their roster to 53 players. Based on the preseason performances, 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 one is one of the most sure bets of any position.

Jeff: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins

Changes: None

Analysis: Even though Dwayne Haskins looked awful vs. the Panthers, this will be your quarterback trio heading into the regular season. Let’s just hope fans don’t have to see anyone other than No. 7 this season.


Running Back (3)

Dave: Najee Harris, Anthony McFarland, Kalen Ballage

Changes: None

Analysis: I didn’t feel Benny Snell Jr. did enough to make a case for the 53 on Friday night, but if I’d have to place a wager the Steelers probably keep him anyway.

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

Changes: Benny Snell Jr. out

Analysis: Could the Steelers keep Benny Snell? They could, but he hasn’t earned it, in my opinion. I think they add versatility at another position.


Fullback (2)

Dave: Derek Watt, Trey Edmunds

Changes: Trey Edmunds in

Analysis: Although I put Edmunds on the roster to grab the H-back position, he could be a guy gets cut and then re-signed if the Steelers have to put another player on IR.

Jeff: Derek Watt, Trey Edmunds (H-Back)

Changes: Trey Edmunds in

Analysis: I decided to keep Trey Edmunds here with the roster spot vacated by Snell, but I could see this roster spot going elsewhere if deemed necessary.


Wide Receiver (5)

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

Changes: None

Analysis: Nobody else made a big enough push to knock Ray-Ray out of the number five stop.

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: I think three is enough with a player 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 (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: B.J. Finney out

Analysis: I did the lazy thing and kept 10 last time because I didn’t know who to cut. I still don’t. Hassenauer seems to be locked in as the reserve center, and the Steelers probably need four tackles with Zach Banner only logging 12 preseason snaps. So I’m going with a completely crazy prediction of the Steelers cut Finney, put Banner on the IR to give him three more weeks, and sign Finney back the next day. It was easier to come up with that unlikely scenario than to pick who gets cut.

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 (7)

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

Changes: Henry Mondeaux in

Analysis: I kept an extra guy, and still had to pick between Davis and Buggs. Henry Mondeaux seems to be high on the depth chart so I think he stays.

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

Changes: Henry Mondeaux in

Analysis: Henry Mondeaux actually provides value to the Steelers, so I have him being an additional defensive lineman on the roster. Unfortunately, that means the end of the road for Isaiah Buggs.


Outside Linebacker (4)

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

Changes: Quincy Roche out

Analysis: Thereare several players I had to choose between across the board, and I think Roche loses a spot to an inside linebacker.

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

Changes: Quincy Roche out

Analysis: I think the Steelers have plenty of good special teams players, and Jones is a more well-rounded pass rusher if called upon. Hopefully the Steelers can bring Roche back on the practice squad, but right now he is the toughest cut to make on the defense.


Inside Linebacker (5)

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

Changes: Marcus Allen in

Analysis: The more I look at it, Geoffrey Benedict has convinced me Allen may be the guy in some defensive sub packages.

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

Changes: None

Analysis: Adding Marcus Allen to the linebacker spot instead of safety, considering he plays there more than anywhere else in the Steelers’ current defense.


Cornerback (5)

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

Changes: Mark Gilbert out

Analysis: I would really like to keep Gilbert, but I simply don’t see him being better than the seventh-best defensive lineman.

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)

Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood

Changes: None

Analysis: I think these four are all the Steelers need with a player or two on the practice squad.

Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood

Changes: None

Analysis: With Allen now on the linebacker side of things, this is your safety room heading into the regular season.

Total Defense: 25


Special Teams


Specialists (3)

Dave: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz

Changes: None

Analysis: Why not.

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 Benny Snell Jr.
TE Kevin Rader
WR Ricco Bussey
WR Cody White
WR Anthony Johnson
G John Leglue
T Chaz Green
DT Isaiah Buggs
OLB Quincy Roche
ILB Ulysees Gilbert III
CB Shakur Brown
CB Mark Gilbert
S Lamont Wade
S Donovan Stiner

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, and basically this is the top 16 players I have not making the team even though a few of them have already been cut.

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.


For a more detailed breakdown, and explanation of the 53-man roster projections above, check out the Let’s Ride podcast where Dave and I break it down: