Some surprises in recent Steelers starting lineup prediction

Chris Wormley #93 of the Baltimore Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Chris Wormley #93 of the Baltimore Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

CBS Sports recently predicted the Steelers starting lineup to begin the 2020 NFL season. Here are a few surprises in their depth chart.

If you follow the Steelers closely, it isn’t hard to fire off 16-19 players who you know will be starting for Pittsburgh to open the 2020 season. Obviously, for players like Ben Roethlisberger, JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, David DeCastro, and Cameron Heyward, their jobs could not be more secure.

However, for some of the lower-level starters from 2019, that’s an entirely different story.

Ramon Foster has been a full-time starter for the Steelers for his last nine seasons, but he decided to hang up his cleats this offseason. In addition, backup B.J. Finney joined the Seattle Seahawks in free agency. Defensively, starting nose tackle Javon Hargrave took a massive deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, and there are questions about which players will fill these roles in 2020.

Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports recently predicted Pittsburgh’s starting lineup to begin the 2020 season. A few of his predictions may surprise you.

Offensively, DeArdo had right tackle, Matt Feiler, kicking inside to fill foster’s shoes at left guard. In his place, Zach Banner steps up to fill the hole at right tackle.

Steelers starting jobs not so cut-and-dry

This is a scenario that could go a number of ways. The Steelers brought in Stefen Wisniewski this offseason – who has plenty of NFL experience along the interior offensive line. Because of this, Pittsburgh could elect to keep Feiler at the position he is most comfortable with.

If, however, Feiler does kick inside, Banner is not guaranteed a starting job at right tackle. Former 2018 3rd round pick Chukwuma Okorafor will be fighting tooth and nail for that Job. Okorafor may not have the power Banner possesses, but he’s a good athlete for the position with quick feet.

Defensively, DeArdo has newly acquired defensive lineman, Chris Wormly, taking the place of Javon Hargrave at starting nose tackle. Wormly was dealt to Pittsburgh for a 5th round pick in an unusual Steelers/Ravens trade this offseason.

However, his body type and play style are much more in the mold of a run-defending 5-technique than a penetrating interior defender like Hargrave. At 6’5” and 300 pounds, Wormly seems more like a backup to Heyward and Stephon Tuitt than a true nose tackle, so this choice is interesting. Other options at nose include Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs, and Dan McCullers.

With a lack of depth at the linebacker position, DeArdo also has Robert Spillane and Christian Kuntz making the roster alongside Ulysees Gilbert to backup Devin Bush and Vince Williams. It’s unlikely both with make the 53-man roster unless injuries occur at the position.

It’s also interesting to know that DeArdo has Jaylen Samuels missing the roster in favor of rookie running back, Anthony McFarland. In my last roster prediction, I had the Steelers breaking the trend and keeping four running backs in addition to fullback Derek Watt.

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It’s hard to say exactly what the Steelers will do at this point, and there are still a few positions we don’t have figured out. All of this will start to come to light during training camp.