Steelers players who are on the roster bubble after the NFL Draft

Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Hundreds of recently-drafted players have hopes soaring through the roof right now. After making their dreams come true by being drafted by an NFL team, they will begin training vigorously for a chance to carve out roles during their rookie seasons. For many others already on NFL rosters, hanging onto a roster spot will be their sole focus in 2024.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have seven draft picks added to their roster. This means that not every player who made the 53-man roster last year will have the privilege to do so again in 2024. Here are five Steelers players who are on the roster bubble following the 2024 NFL Draft.

WR Quez Watkins

Pittsburgh's decision to sign Quez Watkins during the 2024 free agency period does not ensure him a spot on the final Steelers roster in 2024. Omar Khan addressed the wide receiver position in the third round with Roman Wilson. The former Michigan product did the majority of his damage from the slot.

Now Watkins will compete with a suddenly crowded group of slot receivers with Wilson and Calvin Austin III. Keeping all three feels redundant, and one will likely be the odd man out. It won't be Wilson, who is the new draft pick, and Austin is the only player on the team with ample experience as a punt returner.

Watkins has an uphill battle for a roster spot with Roman Wilson added to the mix, and he could be forced off the roster completely if Pittsburgh adds one more quality WR option this summer.

OG Spencer Anderson

As a rookie in 2023, Spencer Anderson was in a favorable situation. The former seventh-round draft pick out of Maryland made the team and served as a reserve offensive guard. Most would have predicted a bigger role in his second season... but that was before the Steelers doubled up on interior offensive linemen in the 2024 draft.

After taking West Virginia center, Zach Frazier, the Steelers made an unexpected move for South Dakota State guard, Mason McCormick, in Round 4. Pittsburgh is very high on McCormick, and this becomes a simple numbers game.

With Frazier and McCormick added to an interior offensive line that already includes Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, and Nate Herbig, it's hard to envision a route for Anderson to make the final roster, barring an injury. He's destined to end up on the team's practice squad.

Related: Early Steelers 53-man roster predictions after the NFL Draft

DL DeMarvin Leal

DeMarvin Leal was a talented player coming out of high school and a solid defensive end at Texas A&M, but his fit with the Pittsburgh Steelers was always questionable. At 6'3 7/8'' and 283 pounds coming out of college, Leal was a tweener in a bad way, and things have not gone well early in his career.

After failing to find a role in the defensive line rotation, Leal was a healthy scratch late in the 2023 season for Pittsburgh. His chances of cracking the roster would have been hard enough when former Vikings DL Dean Lowry was added to the mix in free agency.

Not long after, the Steelers used a sixth-round pick on Iowa's Logan Lee. Now the Steelers have a trio of players in Lee, Leal, and Isaiahh Loudermilk who could be fighting for positioning, and Leal could be the odd man out due to his poor fit on the defensive line.

DB Darius Rush

I bet Darius Rush was secretly hoping the Pittsburgh Steelers would have drafted a slot cornerback. Instead, Omar Khan found another 'Avitar' defensive back to add to the mix. At nearly 6'3'' with long arms and good athletic traits, Ryan Watts is cut from the same cloth as players like Rush, Joey Porter Jr., and Cory Trice Jr.

To make matters worse for Rush, it's rumored that the Steelers could try Watts at both cornerback and safety -- two positions that Rush played sparingly for Pittsburgh in 2023.

How many long, raw, and athletic defensive backs do the Steelers need? Adding another one like Watts to the team could force Rush off the Steelers roster unless he has a strong training camp.

LB Mark Robinson

Mark Robinson is one of those players who will always have to fight tooth and nail just to hold down his role as a special teamer in the NFL. This could be what ends up saving his job in 2024. However, add talented players like former Pro Bowler Patrick Queen and third-round pick Payton Wilson to the mix, and Robinson is pushed even further down the pecking order.

If Cole Holcomb returns and is healthy, Robinson needs to pray that Pittsburgh wants to keep five off-ball linebackers this year. Even then, he will need to beat out the depth competition and prove he's the best option as a core special teams player.