Cornerbacks (5): Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, Joey Porter, Jr., Chandon Sullivan, James Pierre
Peterson and Wallace are locks, and will likely start on the outside with Sullivan as the starting slot corner. But with rookie Porter waiting in the wings, Peterson will shift inside to the slot at times in order to give the Penn State product some playing time.
There was a tight battle between Sullivan and Elijah Riley for the starting slot role. I believe that Sullivan is better off the edge when blitzing and has won the opportunity to start. That's not to say that Riley is going to be cut, because you'll see him listed in my safeties column due to his versatility.
To me, the biggest question mark with this group is whether or not the Steelers decide to keep Pierre as a backup outside corner. He's been a solid special teams player and has performed decently when given the chance on the outside in years past. However, he didn't have a great pre-season and I believe his spot is hanging in the balance if there's another outside cornerback available after cutdown day.
Safeties (5): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Miles Killebrew, Elijah Riley
Fitzpatrick is the best free safety in the game, but it will be interesting to see how things play out this season with the loss of former starting strong safety Terrell Edmunds.
Kazee and Neal were listed as co-starters at strong safety on the team's initial depth chart, but I believe that Kazee will be the starter at the beginning of the season. Neal will also see a lot of playing time in sub-packages, strengthening this group to the best it has been in years.
Like Boykin on offense, Killebrew is a special teams ace for the defense. He spot on the team is secure, even though he won't see much action in the defensive backfield.
Riley is too versatile to cut, showing off his ability to play safety and/or slot corner during the pre-season. He's also solid on special teams, which makes Tre Norwood a cut candidate. Norwood is likely to be retained on the practice squad though.
Training camp standout Kenny Robinson and late addition Trenton Thompson could join Norwood on the practice squad if other teams don't pick them up.
Steelers roster projections: Specialists (3)
Chris Bowsell (K), Pressley Harvin III (P), Christian Kuntz (LS)
Boswell is one of the best kickers in the game and his role on the team was never in any real danger despite rookie B.T. Potter's presence at Training Camp.
The Steelers also brought in competition for Harvin, but the Georgia Tech product had a great camp and secured his role by beating out Braden Mann.
Kuntz held off Rex Sunahara to retain the long-snapper role, giving the Steelers the same three specialists they've had for the third season in a row.