The 2022 season is just around the corner and we now have our first look at the Pittsburgh Steelers initial 53-man roster.
The final roster cut-down day is always one of the most anticipated dates in football. After NFL clubs spent most of the summer with 90 players on their roster, teams are forced to cut down to just 53 less than two weeks before the start of the season.
The third wave of NFL roster cuts needed to be complete by 4:00 p.m. on August 30th. Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan certainly had some difficult decisions to make regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers roster as over two dozen players were ultimately let go. While waiver claims and post-cut signings could change things, here is the initial Steelers 53-man roster heading into the 2022 season:
Steelers initial 53-man roster for 2022 season:
Quarterback (3): Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph
No surprises here. Barring a trade involving Mason Rudolph, the Steelers were projected to keep all three of their top quarterbacks and they did exactly that. Rookie Chris Oladokun was gone during the first wave of cuts.
Running backs/fullback (4): Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Benny Snell, Derek Watt
As much as fans didn’t want to see Benny Snell stick around on the roster for the fourth straight year, that’s going to be the case, assuming there is no outside signing at the position. Anthony McFarland misses the cut despite a strong summer and a great opening preseason game. Derek Watt sticks around as the lone fullback on the roster in 2022.
Wide receiver (7): Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, George Pickens, Calvin Austin, Gunner Olszewski, Miles Boykin, Steven Sims
This one really caught me off guard. After rostering just five wide receivers last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to keep not just six this year, but seven. This could be because Calvin Austin isn’t healthy enough to go just yet. If the Steelers need to cut back at some point during the season to add depth elsewhere, I would expect Steven Sims to be the odd man out. But as of now, the Steelers have seven receivers on their initial 53-man roster.
Tight end (3): Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward
Nobody should be too surprised by the results here. Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry were locks to make the team in 2022. The third tight end spot came down to a fight between Kevin Rader and rookie Connor Heyward — one in which Heyward ultimately proved to be the victor.
Offensive line (8): Dan Moore Jr., Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Chukwuma Okorafor, Jesse Davis, Kendrick Green, J.C. Hassenauer
I don’t think anyone would have predicted this group of eight correctly. I wasn’t surprised to see the Steelers search for some outside help. I predicted OT Joe Haeg would make the roster and once again be the swing tackle, but both he and Trent Scott were released. The team traded for veteran Jesse Davis just before the deadline. Fan-favorite OG John Leglue also narrowly missed the cut.
Interior defensive line (7): Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams
For the first time in exactly a decade, the Steelers have elected to keep a seventh interior defender. By doing so, they didn’t have to decide between quality players like Isaiahh Loudermilk and Montravius Adams. They still lost some decent depth at the position when they cut Carlos Davis, Khalil Davis, and Henry Mondeaux. There was simply no room for them on the roster.
Edge defender (4): T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Malik Reed, and Derrek Tuszka
The Pittsburgh Steelers threw another curve ball at us when it came to the edge defender position. The team cut Genard Avery last week, and just before roster cuts were finalized on August 30th, they traded for Broncos edge defender, Malik Reed. He will be the first off the bench for the Steelers. Pittsburgh also decided to keep Derrek Tuszka over Hamilcar Rashed.
Linebacker (4): Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Mark Robinson
It was interesting to see the Steelers keep just four off-ball linebackers after keeping as many as six in seasons past. Fourth-round pick, Buddy Johnson, did not make the roster in his second season. The team also cut Marcus Allen, who has been dealing with injuries, but many expect him to re-sign with Pittsburgh after Damontae Kazee heads to IR.
Cornerback (5): Ahkello Witherspoon, Cameron Sutton, Levi Wallace, Arthur Maulet, James Pierre
Before he got a chance to enter his fourth NFL season, the Steelers decided they have seen enough from Justin Layne. The 2019 third-round draft choice is now officially gone. James Pierre was running above him on the depth chart all summer, so no huge surprise here.
Safety (5): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew
After it was reported that Damontae Kazee suffered a serious wrist/hand injury, many didn’t know if the Steelers would try to stash him on the roster this year. Kazee will be headed to IR, but he made the initial roster for Pittsburgh. Tre Norwood is a versatile piece in the secondary who will be the primary backup for now, while Miles Killebrew sticks around once again because of his special teams value.
Special teams (3): Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz
This is probably the easiest group of players to predict on the roster. Chris Boswell just broke the bank this offseason, while Pressley Harvin had a strong training camp. Christian Kuntz will return as the long snapper.
I’m sure the Pittsburgh Steelers had a difficult time narrowing their roster down to just 53 players, but this appears to be our team heading into the 2022 season. Here’s a look at all of the players they parted ways with during the final wave of roster cuts.