Steelers make some surprising cuts in this 53-man roster prediction

Aug 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Connor Heyward (83) celebrates a third quarter touchdown with his teammates against the Seattle Seahawks at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Connor Heyward (83) celebrates a third quarter touchdown with his teammates against the Seattle Seahawks at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers 53-man roster could always change throughout the season, but here is the current outlook from a prediction standpoint. 

The Steelers still have time on their side to make decisions about which players will nab the final roster spots on this team. Some players are starting to show their worth and it is beginning to look like a roster spot will be theirs.

As we get closer to the 53-man roster being announced pay close attention to these different positions as things could change instantaneously.

Quarterbacks make a last minute change for the Steelers

Quarterbacks (3): Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, veteran free agent

There are rumors that speculate Mason Rudolph could be shipped out of town soon. That would mean a veteran free agent would bring a new wrinkle into the 53-man roster. The top two quarterbacks are set in stone, but Rudolph is the wildcard. He could always stick around and be the third guy, but he got dealt in this scenario.

Benny Snell misses the final cut for the team

Running back (3): Najee Harris, Anthony McFarland Jr., Jaylen Warren

Najee Harris is the most obvious player making this list at running back, but things get interesting behind him. Benny Snell Jr. failed to make the team as he missed a ton of time and Anthony McFarland Jr. and Jaylen Warren have shown nice things.

Both are having nice camps and are taking advantage of the snaps gained with Snell out of the equation. Snell’s spot should be no guarantee and he is behind the eight ball now.

Connor Heyward continues to make the roster

Wide receiver (6): Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Chase Claypool, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Gunner Olszewski

No real shockers in this spot as Anthony Miller was lost for the season and seemed to be pushing for a roster spot before his injury. Gunner Olszewski is showing more at receiver than many had expected heading into Steelers training camp. The rest of them provide depth at the outside and slot spots for the offense as well. That is a nice depth-filled room that can make alterations as the season goes on.

Tight end (3): Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward

The top two at the position are locks to make the team and they are going to be a nice duo. Connor Heyward used to be a question mark when he got drafted, but those doubts have gone to the wayside. He has played very well and showed more than the other tight ends at the bottom of the position like Kevin Rader. This seems like the three heading into the season and should be the makeup of it for a while.

Offensive line sticks with nine players in the trenches

Offensive line (9): Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Chuks Okorafor, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, J.C. Hassenauer, John Leglue

The starting five are basically decided on, besides the battle at left guard. There are two, maybe three, spots open along the offensive line for the Steelers. J.C. Hassenauer has shown reliability with the team and will be back at depth in the interior of the line.

Joe Haeg is the lone proven backup tackle to make the roster, which could become a major concern if an injury happens to either starter. John Leglue sticks around as he is working on position flexibility and has starting experience.

Defensive line keeps seven as long as they can stay healthy

Defensive line (7): Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, DeMarvin Leal, Montravius Adams

This group seems set beside the injuries that seem to continue to hamper the players. The defensive line needs to get back on track this season and they seem to have the answers for those issues.

Larry Ogunjobi is starting off slow due to his injury in camp, however, he seems like the player that the coaches are going to lean on to replace Stephon Tuitt. Montravius Adams has been missing with injury recently, but he still makes the team over Henry Mondeaux as long as he can get back from the injury.

Steelers need to look at outside options at linebacker still

Outside linebacker (4): T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Genard Avery, Derrek Tuszka/free agent

Again, the two starters are set at this position with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith on both sides. The depth behind them is where things could get interesting. The Steelers will be watching the free agent market when other clubs make their cuts to see if there are any upgrades available.

Genard Avery’s spot seems safe even though he has been out with injury. Derrek Tuszka could miss out if there is a better free agent that becomes available.

Inside linebacker (5): Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen, Buddy Johnson/outside free agent

Myles Jack has emerged as the top dog in the linebacker room, but the starter next to him has become a major concern. Devin Bush and Robert Spillane will battle it out without there being any other choices on the roster currently. Marcus Allen still makes the roster after struggling with an injury for most of camp, he could be a surprise cut if he cannot get back soon.

Buddy Johnson still makes the team even though he has not taken the step forward that coaches had hoped for to this point. That could lead to a free agent or two being targeted if an upgrade becomes available during cuts.

Pittsburgh keeps their secondary full of depth players

Cornerback (5): Cam Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, James Pierre, Arthur Maulet

The cornerback room is interesting as the last two spots seem to be up for grabs. The three starters at the top are locks to make the Steelers team. James Pierre still needs to find consistency in his game, but he has done a nice job in camp to be a depth guy in case injury occurs. Arthur Maulet makes the club as a depth piece in slot corner role.

Safety (5): Minkah Fitzpatrick. Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew

Pittsburgh keeps five safeties in this iteration of the prediction article. There is a lot of talent here and cutting will be a tough task to accomplish. The two starters are obvious, and Damontae Kazee is pushing for a big role on this defense.

Tre Norwood will get his fair share of snaps as he continues to impress in year two. Miles Killebrew has been consistent on special teams and will probably make the club because of that. Do not be shocked if he becomes expendable if they need an extra spot.

The Steelers specialists stay the same heading into 2022

Specialists (3): Chris Boswell (Kicker), Pressley Harvin III (Punter), Christian Kuntz (Long snapper)

There is no shocker here as all three specialists are returning from last year. Maybe pushing Pressley Harvin III more with tougher competition in camp would have been more ideal. The Steelers believe in him, and he needs to prove his worth every week or he could lose his job during the season.

The practice squad keeps some names but could look outside

Practice squad (16): Chris Oladokun/free agent (quarterback), Benny Snell Jr. (running back), Kevin Rader (tight end), Henry Mondeaux (defensive line), Mark Robinson (linebacker), Tyler Vaughns (wide receiver), Steven Simms (wide receiver), Chris Steele (cornerback), Justin Layne (cornerback), Chaz Green (tackle), Delontae Scott (linebacker), Donovan Stiner (safety), Carlos Davis (defensive line), Trent Scott (tackle), Free agent (linebacker), Mataeo Durant/free agent (running back)

The black and gold keep a lot of their own but do not be shocked if they try to get some outside options to sign onto their practice squad. Running back could be a position that needs an outside option brought in unless Mataeo Durant shows more soon.

Chris Oladokn has barely gotten any snaps and could struggle to even make the practice squad, especially if the coaches like other players out there more. The rest are pretty straightforward options that either have experience or potential to grow in the future with the club.

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Things could get interesting as the preseason pushes further for the players fighting for roster spots. There could always be different iterations of the 53-man roster for the Steelers after their initial group is created.