The kickoff to the 2022 NFL preseason is just about two months away. While numerous things can happen between now and then, it’s time to give our way-too-early predictions for the Steelers 53-man roster to begin the 2022 season. With no players actually setting foot in pads on the field yet, it’s difficult to project who the bottom of the roster players will be. Regardless, BTSC editor Dave Schofield and senior editor Jeff Hartman will give their input onto their thoughts of who will make the roster come September.
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!
Dave: Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: Nothing from minicamp was reported where either of these three were not performing well, or that Chris Oladokun was blowing the doors off of everyone. While those things could happen in training camp, they haven’t happened yet so the list stays the same.
Jeff: Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: Chris Oladokun doesn’t make it to the team’s 53-man roster, but the hope is he is either stashed on Injured Reserve (IR) like Joshua Dobbs last season, or placed on the practice squad. If Oladokun plays well in the preseason, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him make the roster and another roster move being made, like a trade.
Running Back (3)
Dave: Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr.,
Mateo Durant, Anthony McFarland Jr.
Changes: Mateo Durant out, Anthony McFarland in
Analysis: I ultimately would like a new name to the 53-man roster for the final spot. Since that isn’t the case at this time, I’ll likely switch players in and out until we get a preseason game.
Jeff: Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr.
Analysis: McFarland was a draft pick, and the Steelers still favor those players in these situations. Otherwise, I see Benny Snell being the No. 2 back regardless of the third player on this depth chart.
Dave: Derek Watt
Analysis: I’ve talked enough about him the last few weeks, so there will be nothing else said.
Jeff: Derek Watt
Analysis: The only true fullback on the team. Moving on...
Wide Receiver (6)
Dave: Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, Gunner Olszewski, Miles Boykin
Analysis: There are still two spots up for grabs, that is if the Steelers go with six players. I think the top for are basically locks, but Boykin, Olszewski, and company will have to show they deserve to be there.
Jeff: Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Gunner Olszewski
Analysis: If there is a player whose roster spot isn’t guaranteed, it’s Boykin. Someone like Cody White or Anthony Miller could push him off the depth chart if they out-perform him in camp/preseason. At this point, I like Boykin’s ability to play special teams, giving him the nudge over the others.
Tight End (3)
Dave: Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward
Analysis: I’m sticking with these three for now because I believe they all bring something different to the table.
Jeff: Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward
Analysis: I could see the team possibly keeping a fourth tight end in Kevin Rader, and considering Heyward could fall under several categories on this prediction it could be feasible. As for now, I’ll still to these three.
Offensive Line (9)
Dave: Chukwuma Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr, James Daniels, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, J.C. Hassenauer, John Leglue
Analysis: I believe the top six are pretty locked in, and Joe Haeg has shown he brings veteran versatility. I think others could get into the mix here, but I’m not sure which players it would be yet so I’m leaving things the same. Plus, it’s hard to gauge things on the line until the pads come on.
Jeff: Chuks Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr., Joe Haeg, John Leglue, James Daniels, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green, J.C. Hassenauer
Analysis: As of now I have Haeg beating out Chaz Green, but this is an area, primarily offensive tackle, where I could see the team making a move after cuts have been made. Otherwise, the interior of the line is constructed.
Total Offense: 25
Defensive Line (6)
Dave: Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams
Analysis: There is nothing to change because I didn’t have Stephon Tuitt on the list last time. I take no joy in that correct assumption.
Jeff: Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu,
Stephon Tuitt, Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams
Changes: Stephon Tuitt out
Analysis: So Tuitt retired, making my initial prediction look bad. Looking at the roster I have decided to use that vacancy at another position. So, Tuitt is out, and doesn’t get replaced by another defensive lineman.
Outside Linebacker (4 - Dave, 5 - Jeff)
Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Genard Avery
Analysis: I was so tempted to take Tuzar Skipper, but I don’t know which player I would replace.
Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Genard Avery, Tuzar Skipper
Changes: Add Tuzar Skipper
Analysis: Steelers save a roster spot with Avery being able to play both ILB and OLB. The addition of Skipper has me adding Tuitt’s vacant spot to the outside linebacker position. Avery’s position versatility helps in this area.
Inside Linebacker (5)
Dave: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson,
Mark Robinson, Marcus Allen
Changes: Mark Robinson out, Marcus Allen in
Analysis: I’ve decided I will likely change someone at this position each time we do a prediction because I feel there are four guys fighting for two spots. Despite being the most expensive of the bunch, I kept Allen this time because of the ‘hybrid’ potential. I dropped Robinson off simply because of the added hype he’s been getting, making me feel like we’re more likely to be set up for disappointment.
Jeff: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Mark Robinson
Analysis: While it’s no guarantee Robinson makes the roster, I think he’ll be a very good special teams player for the Steelers. There is value in that, and so I think he makes the team.
Cornerback (5 - Dave / Jeff - 4)
Dave: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, James Pierre
Analysis: Maulet brings help in the slot, and having four guys who can play outside is preferred.
Jeff: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace,
James Pierre, Arthur Maulet
Changes: James Pierre out, Aurthur Maulet in
Analysis: Going into a season with just four cornerbacks isn’t ideal, but the Steelers will likely utilize some of their safeties as slot cornerbacks. At this point, they need more help in the slot than they do on the outside. This gives the edge to Maulet, in my opinion.
Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood
Analysis: All five players appear to bring a little something different and fill out the room nicely.
Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood
Analysis: For those who freaked out over having four cornerbacks, Norwood and Edmunds will likely help round out the defensive back depth chart by playing more flex positions.
Total Defense: 25
Dave: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: Why change anything unless another punter starts booming kicks every time?
Jeff: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: No need to make any changes, as of yet.
Total Team: 53
We break down the 53-man roster further on the latest episode of the “Let’s Ride” podcast. You can check out the latest episode in the player below: