The kickoff to the 2023 NFL preseason is just about three 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 2023 season. With no players actually setting foot on even a preseason 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: Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky,
TBD Mason Rudolph
Changes: Mason Rudolph in
Analysis: In the previous prediction, I simply had TBD for the third QB as I thought the player was not on the roster yet. Since then, the Steelers have added Mason Rudolph. Last year I was very confident in these three being the players, this year I’m also very confident about the order.
Jeff: Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph
Changes: Mason Rudolph in
Analysis: As Dave stated above, neither of us had Rudolph on the depth chart because he wasn’t on the team when we did this exercise last time. He is now, and barring a trade or injury the QB depth chart is solidified.
Running Back (3)
Dave: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr.
Analysis: I was really tempted to throw in Alfonso Graham or even a player not on the roster at this time, but I thought that would be too disrespectful to McFarland. I’m not sold that he’s the third guy as I don’t think he brings enough special teams value. But the way the roster is now, it’s likely his spot to lose.
Jeff: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren,
Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr.
Changes: Snell out, McFarland in
Analysis: The Steelers haven’t shown much interest in bringing back Benny Snell, so I have him out. Not to mention I saw he had a try-out with another team recently. I’ll go with Ant-Mac finally getting a shock to lock up the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, but he’ll have to prove his worth on special teams.
Monte Pottebaum None
Changes: Monte Pottebaum out
Analysis: It was fun throwing Pottebaum on the list last time simply because Jeff has to wear a mullet wig on The Steelers Preview until the bye week if Pottebaum makes the 53-man roster. Honestly, there are players at other positions that are fighting for jobs that I think are more likely to make it as of now.
Analysis: As you’ll see when we get to the tight ends, I have a full back on the roster, but not someone who would be considered a natural fullback.
Wide Receiver (6)
Dave: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Anthony Miller
Analysis: I’m still not willing to change this list, but my next man up is Hakeem Butler. Perhaps the Steelers find a way to keep a seventh receiver, but right now I don’t see it.
Jeff: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin,
Anthony Miller, Hakeem Butler
Changes: Miller out, Butler in
Analysis: There are some players who just can’t stay healthy, and it seems like Anthony Miller is one of those guys. Butler is big, strong and fast. If Calvin Austin III is worth a roster spot, Miller could be viewed as expendable.
Tight End (4)
Dave: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward, Zach Gentry
Changes: Zach Gentry in
Analysis: By cutting a fullback, Connor Heyward basically fills out both position groups and the Steelers can keep four tight ends. That’s why Gentry is back in. I would keep an extra wide receiver, but I think the Steelers might use tight ends more this season.
Jeff: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward
Analysis: Nothing to see here. Barring an injury I see all four making the roster, and that includes Gentry.
Offensive Line (9)
Dave: Chukwuma Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr, Broderick Jones, Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Nate Herbig, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole,
Spencer Anderson Kendrick Green
Changes: Spencer Anderson out, Kendrick Green in
Analysis: As I said last time, I think the final spot on the offensive line right now is between Kendrick Green, Spencer Anderson, and Le’Raven Clark. I’ll probably just rotate a different player in every time until I’m more convinced. This time it’s Green that gets the nod.
Jeff: Chuks Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr., Broderick Jones, Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Nate Herbig, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green
Analysis: To me, Spencer Anderson is a practice squad hopeful. In the meantime, I don’t think they give up on Kendrick Green just yet.
Total Offense: 25
Defensive Line (7)
Dave: Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, DeMarvin Leal, Keeanu Benton, Breiden Fehoko, Montravius Adams,
Armon Watts Isaiahh Loudermilk
Changes: Armon Watts out, Isaiahh Loudermilk in
Analysis: Much like offensive line, there’s more players who could make it than spots they realistically have available. I left Loudermilk off the last time so this time he gets rotated in. I have yet to hear anything about Watts so I don’t know what to think and therefore he’s the odd man out this time.
Jeff: Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, DeMarvin Leal, Keeanu Benton, Breiden Fehoko, Montravius Adams, Isaiahh Loudermilk
Analysis: If there was a player who I could predict potentially missing out on a roster spot, it would be Montravius Adams. Adams has value, but if rookie Benton is capable he could find his spot gone if someone else steps up.
Outside Linebacker (4)
Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden, Nick Herbig
Changes: Markus Golden in
Analysis: The Steelers added Golden in a smart move, and I don’t see them getting rid of a fourth-round draft pick his first season. The only question is if this group gets an additional player like a Quincy Roche or David Perales.
Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig,
Quincy Roche, Markus Golden
Changes: Roche out, Golden in
Analysis: Just like Mason Rudolph before, Golden wasn’t on the roster the last time these predictions were done, so he rounds out the Top 4, and Roche is hoping to find a home barring an injury.
Inside Linebacker (4)
Dave: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Mark Robinson, Tanner Muse
Analysis: There could be another inside linebacker in play, but if so they are likely not on the roster yet.
Jeff: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Mark Robinson, Tanner Muse
Analysis: If they added another ILB at some point before training camp I wouldn’t be shocked, but at the same time I could also see them staying with the players they have on the roster and having a plan we just don’t know what that is right now.
Cornerback (Dave- 6 / Jeff - 5)
Dave: Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, Joey Porter Jr., James Pierre, Cory Trice,
Arthur Maulet Chandon Sullivan
Changes: Arthur Maulet out, Chandon Sullivan in
Analysis: This was an obvious change after the Steelers released Maulet and Witherspoon since the last prediction. This position group is shaping up to be one that might have the hierarchy in question but not those that make up the list.
Jeff: Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, Joey Porter Jr., James Pierre, Cory Trice,
Changes: Maulet out
Analysis: Arthur Maulet asked for his release, and the Steelers granted his wish. It looks like Sullivan is the leader in the clubhouse at the slot cornerback position, but the Steelers are also really high on Elijah Riley. He could help kill fill two roster spots by himself.
Safety (Dave - 4 / Jeff - 5)
Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Miles Killebrew,
Changes: Tre Norwood out
Analysis: Because I need spots in other places, I only have the Steelers keeping four safeties. Therefore Tre Norwood is out. But I’m not even convinced he would be the next man on the list as Elijah Riley very well could be in play for a spot.
Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Miles Killebrew, Elijah Riley
Changes: Riley in
Analysis: The Steelers were extremely impressed with Riley throughout the offseason workouts. He’ll have every opportunity to prove himself in training camp, but Riley’s versatility, and ability to play the slot in heavier packages, has him with a spot on my 53-man roster.
Total Defense: 25
Dave: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: I still think Big Press holds his job until he gets blatantly out-kicked.
Jeff: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
Analysis: Nothing to note here.
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: