3 players who deserve roles on the Steelers roster in 2023

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2. Steelers must keep DB Elijah Riley

I have been pleasantly surprised by everything I have seen from Elijah Riley this summer. This is a good thing, as Pittsburgh's slot cornerback situation was looking very shaky. While Riley still isn't guaranteed to be on the roster, he has proven himself in my book.

Since watching him at training camp, it's easy to see how Riley wins in the defensive backfield thanks to his combination of short area quickness, instincts, and tackling ability. As a former strong safety, with a 205-pound frame, Riley doesn't really have the body type most teams have in their slot cornerback, but his stocky frame and added weight don't seem to matter.

Obviously, Riley wasn't perfect during the preseason. He gave up several receptions in his coverage and he may never be elite in this area of his game. Still, he's an excellent tackler and is stout in run defense -- something Mike Tomlin and the organization covet. This is in addition to some outstanding plays on special teams coverage units.

Riley has worked his butt off as a former undrafted free agent to get to this point. Not only has he done enough to deserve a roster spot, but I would go as far as to argue that he should be the team's starting slot cornerback as early as Week 1 against the 49ers. The Steelers have a decision to make here, but he has done enough to be on the team in 2023.