T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Alex Highsmith, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, Tuzar Skipper
This group is set as long as they keep five players, and no one suffers an injury. T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree both had career years last year and should see similar production this year. After them, all three backups will contend for playing time.
Olasunkanmi Adeniyi and Tuzar Skipper have been camp phenoms these past two years. While their play hasn’t translated onto the field, they still have a lot of potential as backups. Alex Highsmith was a third-round pick this year, and he should be expected to be the long-term option as a backup and hopeful starter down the road.
Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Ulysses Gilbert III, Robert Spillane
While the Steelers usually keep five options here, there just aren’t a lot of options here outside of the top three. Devin Bush is primed for a huge sophomore year as he is now the sole every-down player. Vince Williams should see a snap increase from last year and should be a steady veteran presence on the defense.
Ulysses Gilbert III flashed last preseason but he is far from a complete product. He is in line to see defensive playing time as he is currently the number three option on the team. Finally, Robert Spillane was a special team ace who will do his damage there this year. This is another position where a veteran makes sense for the Steelers.