Steelers post-draft 53-man roster prediction includes surprises

The NFL draft has come and gone, and the Steelers will have plenty of tough decisions to make in their final 53-man roster.
Sep 9, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Logan Lee (85)
Sep 9, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Logan Lee (85) / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

We are a little under three months away from the Steelers reporting to training camp in Latrobe. It is a hot and humid time of the summer when fans flock to watch their favorite NFL team get ready for the upcoming season. There are a lot of roster spots and starting positions up for grabs at this point of the offseason. Mini camps and different trainings are right around the corner for the black and gold.

The NFL Draft has come and gone, which means it is almost time for football to start up again. Pittsburgh has been getting rave reviews for their most recent draft class that had them select seven different prospects. All those players from that and any future additions to the team will only create more competition and harder decisions for the final 53-man roster.

Steelers final 53-man roster prediction after their masterful draft class

Quarterback (3): Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, Kyle Allen

No surprises here, the only potential surprise would be Justin Fields somehow gaining the starting job. That seems highly unlikely, so expect Russell Wilson to be the starter with Fields as his backup. Kyle Allen got little competition from the draft process, so he will likely be the third guy on the roster. Unless John Rhys Plumlee shocks everyone in camp, their quarterback room is pretty obvious.

Running back (4): Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Cordarrelle Patterson, Connor Heyward

It might be a good idea for the Steelers to add another pure running back to the roster before the preseason process begins. Maybe a UFL guy will emerge as an option to compete for a roster spot. Right now, it seems like Cordarrelle Patterson might be in the running back room, even though he isn't true to that position by definition. Including Connor Heyward here too as he could be considered a fullback and has lined up at running back at limited capacity before.

Wide receiver (5): George Pickens, Roman Wilson, Free agent/trade acquisition, Calvin Austin III, Van Jefferson

With rumors still surrounding the Steelers about a potential addition to their receiving core, we included a roster spot to hold that void. Other than that, both George Pickens and Roman Wilson will play big roles for the team. Van Jefferson and Calvin Austin III both make the 53-man roster over Quez Watkins. That results mostly from the better position flexibility they both provide.

Tight end (3): Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, MyCole Pruitt

Heyward could have been listed here, but he did make the team in the running back room. Pat Freiermuth and Heyward remain the top pass-catching tight-end options for the Steelers heading into this season. Darnell Washington and MyCole Pruitt make the team as they should be quality depth and good blockers. Pruitt also gets a leg up to make the team with his Arthur Smith connection. 

Offensive line (9): Troy Fautanu, Isaac Seumalo, Zach Fraizer, James Daniels, Broderick Jones, Dan Moore Jr., Mason McCormick, Nate Herbig, Dylan Cook

We go with nine offensive linemen in this post-draft 53-man roster prediction. The starting five will consist of Troy Fautanu, Isaac Seumalo, Zach Frazier, James Daniels, and Broderick Jones in some form or fashion. Dan Moore Jr. sticks around as a quality backup left tackle. Mason McCormick and Nate Herbig provide quality depth across the interior. Dylan Cook makes the team as the primary right tackle backup.

Defensive line (6): Cam Heyward, Keeanu Benton, Larry Ogunjobi, Montravius Adams, Dean Lowry, Logan Lee

It would have been better if the Steelers were able to land a better upgrade on the defensive line, but overall, it's not a bad group. They go with six players here to fill out the trenches. Logan Lee and Montravius Adams beat out their competition in training camp. Dean Lowry provides quality depth, and the three starters remain the same from last year.

Outside linebacker (4): T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, David Perales

Will Markus Golden ever return with the Steelers? They should be calling him, but in this scenario, Nick Herbig gets a bigger role in year three. Behind the top three, there are some question marks at depth. David Perales was an undrafted free-agent addition last year and did some nice things during the preseason last time around. He finds a way to stick to this roster.

Inside linebacker (5): Patrick Queen, Elandon Roberts, Payton Wilson, Jeremiah Moon, Cole Holcomb (start season on PUP), Mark Robinson

Cole Holcomb makes the team, but it seems like his injury is taking a while to get back from. He starts on PUP and will not count as a roster spot to begin the year. That opens the door for Mark Robinson to stick around for a bit longer. Jeremiah Moon makes the team and leapfrogs Robinson on the depth chart. All three of Patrick Queen, Elandon Roberts, and Payton Wilson are obvious roster locks.

Cornerback (6): Joey Porter Jr., Donte Jackson, Cory Trice Jr., Darius Rush, Patrick Peterson, Ryan Watts

Other than Joey Porter Jr. and Donte Jackson it is open season at cornerback for the Steelers. There are plenty of holes in this position, especially if Jackson doesn't work out. Cory Trice Jr. and Darius Rush both make the roster as young corners who can hopefully take another step in year two. Patrick Peterson returns in this 53-man roster prediction to man the slot. Ryan Watts makes the team as the backup slot option.

Safety (5): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DeShon Elliott, Damontae Kazee, Trenton Thompson, Miles Killebrew

The two starters are set with Minkah Fitzpatrick and DeShon Elliott. After them, it is obvious that Damontae Kazee will play a role on defense. Trenton Thompson filled in nicely when injuries piled up last year and should be a favorite to make the team out of camp this season. Miles Killebrew is one of the best players on special teams in the NFL, so he won't lose his spot.

Specialists (3): Chris Boswell (K), Cameron Johnston (P), Christian Kuntz (LS)

We have a new group of specialists this time around for the Steelers. Two-thirds of the group remains intact from last year, but Cameron Johnston will be the new punter. He should at least be more of a consistent player than Pressley Harvin III provided over the past several years. Both Chris Boswell and Christian Kuntz should feel comfortable about making this 53-man roster yet again.

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