The 2022 NFL preseason is now complete for the Pittsburgh Steelers only 15 days after it started. While some reports are trickling in before the 4 PM Pittsburgh time deadline, it’s time to once again give our predictions for the Steelers 53-man roster to begin the 2022 season. With injuries and players possibly going on the Reserve/Injured List (IR), 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: These are the guys. The Steelers have to get a great offer to trade away Mason Rudolph, plus they don’t have an answer for someone to take that spot.
Jeff: Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph
Analysis: 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.
Analysis: I am accepting the fact this is how it’s going to be. If it’s not Jaylen Warren I’m probably going to go on an extensive rant.
Jeff: Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Jaylen Warren
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.
Dave: Derek Watt
Changes: Derek Watt in
Analysis: I’m putting Watt back in here as last time I thought he was a potential cut to be brought back to put players on IR. Now it’s just as likely that he’s one of the ones to go on IR. It could go either way.
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: I have them starting with the six, but I’m still thinking Austin could land on IR to start the season. If so, both Sims and Vaughns are prime candidates to land back with the team. And if the Steelers keep seven with one of those because they don’t want to risk losing them, then it will almost be certain CA3 will miss the beginning of the season.
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. Throw in Boykin’s nice performance vs. the Detroit Lions, and I like his chances. 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: The Steelers have already released Sternberger, and Rader is a prime candidate for the practice squad. Theses are their guys.
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. Nonetheless, I’ll stick to these three.
Offensive Line (8)
Dave: Chukwuma Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr., James Daniels, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, J.C. Hassenauer,
Changes: John Leglue out
Analysis: I have to admit that this change came just before the article was published with the report of Leglue being cut. For that reason, I’m going with the same offensive linemen but think they could add a tackle when other players go to IR. For this reason, I’m using the roster spot to add another player on defense to help cover for someone else going to IR.
Jeff: Chuks Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr., Joe Haeg,
John Leglue, James Daniels, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green, J.C. Hassenauer
Changes: John Leglue OUT
Analysis: I still 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. News broke of Leglue getting released, so I am just going with 8 offensive linemen to start the season. This could change after players move to IR.
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: I’m extremely confident that Adams is heading to IR. This allows the Steelers to add another player at a different position. Even with him not available, I don’t think one of the other guys will squeeze on the 53.
Jeff: Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu,
Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams, Larry Ogunjobi
Changes: Chris Wormley out
Analysis: I like Montravius Adams, and I guess technically he would be making the team, only to be put on IR once being put on the roster. Who gets cut to make room for this? I have it as Chris Wormley.
Outside Linebacker (3- Dave, 4- Jeff)
Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka,
Changes: Hamilcar Rashed out
Analysis: That’s right, I’m going with only three. I don’t think Rashed or Scott is a player who’s going to get picked up if the Steelers want to bring one of them as the fourth guy on Wednesday. I think the fourth spot here may come as a free agent signings or waiver claim as another player goes on IR.
Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Hamilcar Rashed
Analysis: Steelers made a bold move by cutting ties with Genard Avery in the second round of cuts, and it likely means they like what they’ve seen from Rashed. This position is dangerously thin and one I could see them making a move in the coming days.
Inside Linebacker (4)
Dave: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Mark Robinson
Analysis: I don’t think Buddy Johnson has shown enough that even though he’s a fourth-round pick someone else will snag him. I also don’t think Marcus Allen is healthy enough to make this roster, and I don’t think the Steelers need to go out of their way to keep him to put him on IR. But this is a position where another player could end up with the team after the IR moves are made, and I think Robinson has become a lock.
Jeff: Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Mark Robinson
Analysis: Buddy Johnson needed a good performance Sunday, and I didn’t see it. I think Mark Robinson solidified his spot on the roster with Johnson’s sub-par play.
Dave: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet,
James Pierre, Chris Steele
Changes: James Pierre out, Chris Steele in
Analysis: I made the switch of Steele for Pierre because I think he’s played better, and that’s not a knock on Pierre. I could see it going either way. I also think the other is destined for the practice squad or a return after players go to IR as long as they are not claimed. I also think it will be interesting to see if Justin Layne doesn’t make the roster and clears waivers if he would sign with the Steelers practice squad or look to go on a different one.
Jeff: Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, James Pierre, Arthur Maulet
Analysis: The Steelers could keep an extra player, like Justin Layne, at the position, but I see them sticking with the above five for now.
Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood, Elijah Riley
Changes: Elijah Riley in
Analysis: I believe Kazee will land on IR as reported but not until Wednesday. In doing so, he has the opportunity to return this year. I was going to suggest the Steelers sign Elijah Riley back to the team once they get Kazee there, but with John Leglue reportedly being cut, I’m holding on to Riley now. If not, the other options could be at cornerback or outside linebacker to keep an additional player before the IR moves.
Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Tre Norwood, Elijah Riley
Changes: Elijah Riley IN
Analysis: Kazee is headed to Injured Reserve, but he needs to make the 53-man roster to do so. I think Riley proved enough, and there is a need at the position, for him to make the initial 53-man roster.
Total Defense: 25
Dave: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: The easiest choices of them all.
Jeff: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: No need to make any changes.