The 2022 NFL preseason is coming to a close not long after it seemed to just get started. 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 once again give our predictions for the Steelers 53-man roster to begin the 2022 season. With only game left for players to prove themselves, it’s still 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: It’s the only three they have now, so this is more cemented as what they were before. I’ve had these three the entire time.
Jeff: Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: Well, the Chris Oladokun theory is now shot. Oh well. I don’t see the Steelers trading Rudolph at this point, so this will be the three who go into the season.
Running Back (4)
Dave: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr.
Changes: Benny Snell back in
Analysis: I’m tired of seeing Benny Snell in the backfield. I was a supporter of his for a long time, but the difference in seeing him and Jaylen Warren in the last game was night and day. But I’m bringing him back to the roster because I just feel the Steelers aren’t going to move on from him because of his special teams play. I’m also not willing to give up any of the other players, so the Steelers keep the number they have over the last couple years.
Jeff: Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Jaylen Warren
Changes: Benny Snell Jr. back IN
Analysis: Benny Snell is the new Dan McCullers. He sticks around, but the team can’t get rid of Jaylen Warren, so they keep four running backs.
Fullback (0- Dave, 1- Jeff)
Changes: Derek Watt out (for now)
Analysis: No, those of you who despise Derek Watt should not burst out in celebration if you see him not make the initial 53-man roster. To me, he is one candidate who would be released as a vested veteran and not have to go through waivers and would be signed back to the Steelers the next day when someone else goes on the Reserve/Injured List (IR). If there isn’t any player to go on IR, then I think he’s in. I just can’t come up with somebody else with whom they would do this. Also, look for a two-year deal coming back as this will sweeten the pot and possibly drop his cap number a little. It’s a strange theory, but I like it.
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: The next two players off this list are Steven Sims and Tyler Vaughns in my opinion. Both are candidates for the practice squad. Additionally, I would not be shocked to see CA3 land on IR if he’s unable to play in the last preseason game.
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: Even though Connor Heyward did not have nearly the game in his second preseason outing, he’s still ahead of the competition.
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: The other possibility from this group is if they only keep eight, and then it gets tricky. The new players signed last week simply haven’t had enough time for those outside of the organization to think they are going to take a spot, so I fall in that category for now. Also, the Steelers could also try to get a player such as J.C. Hassenauer through waivers and bring back if there’s someone else they need to put on IR at a different position. Of course, all this is based on the Steelers current roster.
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 / 6 - Jeff)
Dave: Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams
Changes: None (to start)
Analysis: While Jeff and I are thinking similar things, I’m actually doing them the way they have to be done rather than his little dreamworld. If the Steelers want to put Montravius Adams on IR, which I think is going to happen unless he is miraculously healed to play on Sunday, he’s got a start on the 53-man roster if he’s going to return in 2022 and somebody else will have to be cut. Otherwise, this is the list.
Jeff: Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk,
Montravius Adams, Larry Ogunjobi
Changes: Montravius Adams to IR
Analysis: I like Montravius Adams, and I guess technically he would be making the team, only to be put on Injured Reserve (IR) once being put on the roster. Who gets cut to make room for this? That depends, but I have Adams off the roster to save the details.
Outside Linebacker (4)
Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka,
Genard Avery, Hamilcar Rashed
Changes: Genard Avery out, Hamilcar Rashed in
Analysis: It really was a head-scratcher when the Steelers released Genard Avery this week. Based on who they have left, this seems to be the group unless they decide it’s Delonte Scott. To me, I would feel much better if Scott and Rashed were on the practice squad and they make an addition here before Week 1. But this is the roster now so this is what I have.
Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka,
Genard Avery, Hamilcar Rashed
Changes: Genard Avery OUT after being cut, Hamilcar Rashed IN
Analysis: Steelers made a bold move by cutting ties with Avery, and it likely means they like what they’ve seen from Rashed. This position is dangerously thin.
Inside Linebacker (4)
Dave: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane,
Buddy Johnson, Mark Robinson
Changes: Buddy Johnson out, Mark Robinson in
Analysis: I think Mark Robinson showed too much potential in his second preseason game to try to get onto the practice squad and that he deserves the spot. As for Buddy Johnson, even being a fourth-round draft pick in 2021 I think he could potentially clear waivers and land on the practice squad as well. Marcus Allen could also come back to the Steelers in that regard.
Jeff: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane,
Buddy Johnson, Mark Robinson
Changes: Mark Robinson back IN, Buddy Johnson OUT
Analysis: Mark Robinson is the hot commodity after Week 2, and I’ll jump on board the bandwagon for a week. However, one player who hasn’t had any bandwagon has been Buddy Johnson. Johnson is only a second year player, and I could see him sticking around, but he needs to show something in Week 3 of the preseason.
Dave: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, James Pierre
Analysis: Even with an interception, it wasn’t like he made a great play on the ball and the Justin Layne experiment is finally over. Although he was a fit when they drafted him, once Minkah Fitzpatrick came into the picture the Steelers defense did not build to his strengths and someone like James Pierre is a much better fit. If someone else pushes for the spot over Pierre I think it’s Chris Steele.
Jeff: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, James Pierre, Arthur Maulet
Analysis: I thought there was a chance the team would go into a season with just four cornerbacks, but that simply isn’t ideal. I now believe there is no way the team does that. I still 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: Even though the Steelers brought in a safety off waivers this week, I feel it’s more of having an audition for the practice squad. I like the five players listed above and think it’s a solid group with everybody bringing something slightly different to be used in sub-packages.
Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood
Analysis: No changes needed. I really like this safety depth heading into 2022.
Total Defense: 25
Dave: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: They have already been decided.
Jeff: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: No need to make any changes.