The kickoff to the 2022 NFL preseason is underway. While things can still happen between now and August 30 when teams must cut down to 53 players by 4 PM Pittsburgh time, it’s time to give our somewhat-too-early predictions for the Steelers 53-man roster to begin the 2022 season. With two games yet for players to prove themselves, 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 Week 1.
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: If training camp showed us anything it’s it this isn’t going to change outside of a major roster move. And I don’t see that right now.
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, Jaylen Warren,
Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr.
Changes: Benny Snell out, Jaylen Warren in
Analysis: I want Jaylen Warren on this team and I was looking everywhere to find a spot. I was even going to carry one less defender but that didn’t work. So I flipped a coin between Benny Snell and Derek Watt and Snell lost. This has everything to do with their unavailability throughout the camp, so it could easily change.
Jeff: Najee Harris,
Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Jaylen Warren
Changes: Benny Snell Jr. OUT, Jaylen Warren IN
Analysis: McFarland was a draft pick, and the Steelers still favor those players in these situations. Otherwise, I see Benny Snell’s time coming to a close Pittsburgh, unless they keep four running backs.
Dave: Derek Watt
Analysis: I almost dropped him off the roster after going to bat for him throughout the offseason, but when he’s been injured and hasn’t played it makes it really tough to justify keeping the Steelers special teams captain for just teams when others are on the field showing what they can bring. But for now he stays.
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: This list would have changed three times since the last time we made our predictions following minicamp. But now, based on who’s available, it’s back to these six.
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. At this point, I like Boykin’s ability to play special teams, giving him the nudge over the others. Anthony Miller could have made a case for himself, but his IR designation ended that before it began. Steven Sims also could make a play here, but I don’t see it happening.
Tight End (3)
Dave: Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward
Analysis: I was confident in this list before training camps, but now I’m really confident in it now
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 wasn’t sure if the glue would find his way under the team or maybe the practice squad, but he played very well run blocking in the Steelers first game. So I’m fairly confident in this group now, but there’s still two games to play.
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 (7)
Dave: Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams
Changes: Larry Ogunjobi in
Analysis: The last time we did a prediction the Steelers had not signed Ogunjobi, so his addition is obvious. I just don’t see the Steelers giving up on any of the seven players and keeping the extra defensive lineman simply because they still have to part ways with Henry Mondeaux, Khalil Davis, and Carlos Davis.
Jeff: Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams, Larry Ogunjobi
Changes: Larry Ogunjobi IN
Analysis: So Tuitt retired, making my initial prediction look bad. Larry Ogunjobi being signed makes me feel better about the DLine entering 2022.
Outside Linebacker (4)
Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Genard Avery
Analysis: I haven’t seen anything from anyone to make me think this list would be any different.
Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Genard Avery,
Changes: Tuzar Skipper OUT after being waived
Analysis: Steelers save a roster spot with Avery being able to play both ILB and OLB. However, they stick with their four in hopes of being creative at the position.
Inside Linebacker (4)
Dave: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson,
Changes: Marcus Allen out
Analysis: To add another defensive lineman, I had to lose somebody so I picked inside linebacker. I don’t know if it will be Buddy Johnson, Mark Robinson, or Marcus Allen, but I don’t see a reason to keep more than one of them at this point especially if it would mean losing a defensive lineman, a cornerback, or a wide receiver. And for those who want to cut Devin Bush, his fully-guaranteed contract will keep that from happening regardless of his play on the field.
Jeff: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson,
Changes: Mark Robinson OUT
Analysis: Mark Robinson has a ton of potential, but I don’t see the Steelers finding enough value in him immediately to take up a roster spot.
Dave: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, James Pierre
Analysis: I have James Pierre making it in as the last player on the defense simply because the Steelers could go with four corners if they choose. But I don’t think it’s wise as they really should have a 10th defensive back available in today’s NFL.
Jeff: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, James Pierre, Arthur Maulet
Changes: James Pierre back IN
Analysis: Going into a season with just four cornerbacks isn’t ideal, so I figured there is no way the team does that. I have the team cutting Justin Layne, and keeping James Pierre for the 5th spot.
Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood
Analysis: I really like this list. I think these are the guys and they should keep them all.
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: The only other player than these three still left is Nick Sciba, and he’s not going to be around long.
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: