Pittsburgh Steelers pre-training camp 53-man roster prediction

Benny Snell #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Benny Snell #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Derrek Tuszka (48). Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Edge defenders (4):

T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derrek Tuszka, Genard Avery

For several years now, the Steelers have kept just four edge defenders on their final 53-man roster. This is largely because they use their starters so heavily. Unfortunately, this is also banking on good health from T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith all season — two players who won’t leave the field often.

Last year, Melvin Ingram was expected to be a big part of the rotation at the edge defender position, but he was unhappy with his role and forced his way out the door before the trade deadline.

Eventually, the Steelers got some help late in the season from Derrek Tuszka who played pretty well down the stretch. Currently, there’s not a lot of strong competition behind Watt and Highsmith on the depth chart. Because of this, I think that Tuszka is a safe bet to make the roster again in 2022.

This leaves a battle for the final spot between Genard Avery and Tuzar Skipper. Skipper was a preseason stud in the past, but Pittsburgh was willing to part ways with him before and they could do it again. I think Avery gets the final edge spot, but don’t be surprised if the Steelers try to add a capable veteran to the position during training camp or after cut-down day.