Initial Steelers 53-man roster projections from the first week of training camp

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Steelers, Cory Trice Jr.
Steelers, Cory Trice Jr. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Roster predictions are always somewhat challenging. While most fans who follow a team closely can guess who will be on the 53-man roster with good accuracy, there are always three or four names at the bottom of the roster that leave us second-guessing. The Pittsburgh Steelers just opened up training camp, but already we are seeing hints of which backups the coaching staff could favor this year.

In a matter of weeks, this 90-man summer roster will be sliced to just 53 players ahead of the 2023 NFL season. Who will ultimately make the cut? Here is my initial Steelers 53-man roster projection from the first week of Steelers training camp.

Steelers 53-man roster prediction:

Quarterback (3):

  • Kenny Pickett
  • Mitch Trubisky
  • Mason Rudolph

Running back (3):

  • Najee Harris
  • Jaylen Warren
  • Anthony McFarland

Wide receiver (6):

  • Diontae Johnson
  • George Pickens
  • Allen Robinson II
  • Calvin Austin III
  • Myles Boykin
  • Gunnar Olszewski

Tight end (4):

  • Pat Freiermuth
  • Darnell Washington
  • Connor Heyward (FB/HB)
  • Zach Gentry

Offensive tackle (3):

  • Broderick Jones
  • Chukwuma Okorafor
  • Dan Moore Jr.

Interior offensive line (6):

  • Isaac Seumalo
  • James Daniels
  • Mason Cole (C)
  • Nate Herbig
  • Kevin Dotson
  • Kendrick Green

Interior defensive line (6):

  • Cameron Heyward
  • Larry Ogunjobi
  • Keeanu Benton
  • DeMarvin Leal
  • Armon Watts
  • Breiden Fehoko

Edge defender (4):

  • T.J. Watt
  • Alex Highsmith
  • Markus Golden
  • Nick Herbig

Linebacker (4):

  • Cole Holcomb
  • Elandon Roberts
  • Mark Robinson
  • Tanner Muse

Cornerback (6):

  • Patrick Peterson
  • Joey Porter Jr.
  • Levi Wallace
  • Cory Trice Jr.
  • Duke Dawson
  • James Pierre

Safety (5):

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • Damontae Kazee
  • Keanu Neal
  • Elijah Riley
  • Miles Killebrew

Specialists (3):

  • Chris Boswell (K)
  • Presley Harvin III (P)
  • Christian Kuntz (LS)

There are a few notable surprises here. The first is that I chose to exclude defensive tackle, Isaiahh Loudermilk from my 53-man roster projection for the first time since being drafted in 2021. Two years back, the Steelers used a future fourth-round pick to move back into the fifth-round to select the Wisconsin product, but his spot on the roster is hardly secure at this point in time.

Because of the current roster construction, Pittsburgh seems to have more of the long, 3-4 base end-type interior defenders than they have true nose tackles. Unfortunately, nose tackle is where they could use more depth. In my early roster prediction, I have them keeping true NT Breiden Fehoko over Loudermilk for the final IDL spot.

In addition to Loudermilk narrowly missing the roster, I also have veteran linebacker, Nick Kwiatkowski also getting released prior to the start of the season. Kwiatkowski is a long-time veteran with loads of special teams experience. However, I just don't know if the Steelers can afford to keep a fifth off-ball linebacker on the roster in 2023 -- especially if the upback on special teams is going to be Miles Killebrew.

I have Mark Robinson and Tanner Muse making the roster as the backup linebackers with Kwiatkowski being a name the team would have liked to keep. This decision was also made by having the Steelers keep a sixth cornerback. James Pierre makes the team once more thanks to his special teams ability.

Steelers rookie class will remain mostly intact

From the rookie class, I have six of seven players making the initial 53-man roster for the Steelers. Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton, and Darnell Washington could each carve out notable roles as rookies. I also have Nick Herbig and Cory Trice Jr. making the team -- knowing that they will be required to contribute on special teams.

Unfortunately, I have Kendrick Green taking the final spot on the offensive line thanks to his past experience at center. He could prove to be the primary backup to Mason Cole this year (and the fact that he was a former third-round pick may help keep him around a bit longer). I have Spencer Anderson, Pittsburgh's seventh-round pick out of Maryland, missing the final roster and landing on the practice squad.

Next. 5 biggest questions we must see answered at Steelers camp. 5 biggest questions we must see answered at Steelers camp. dark

There will be plenty of changes as we watch the Pittsburgh Steelers hit the practice field over the next several weeks. Stay with us for all the latest Steelers news and updated predictions.