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Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster: Post NFL Draft Edition

The kickoff to the 2024 NFL preseason is just about three months away. While numerous things can happen between now and then, it’s time to give our way-too-early predictions for the Steelers 53-man roster to begin the 2024 season. With no players actually setting foot on even a practice field yet to run full-team work as part of OTAs, it’s difficult to project who the bottom-of-the-roster players will be. Regardless, SCN editor Dave Schofield and senior editor Jeff Hartman will give their input onto their thoughts of who will make the roster come September.

As always, we welcome you to join the conversation in our comment section below this article. Let your voice be heard and join in the black-and-gold conversation!


Quarterback (3)

Dave: Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, John Rhys Plumlee

Analysis: Why not throw in an expected UDFA beating out an NFL journeyman right off the bat? I just can’t get over that this room has a complete makeover.

Jeff: Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, Kyle Allen

Analysis: Plumlee is a cool story, but I just don’t see him beating out Allen for the QB3 role. Say what you want about Allen, but he has NFL experience. If you get to the QB3 in a season, it’s valuable.

Running Back (3)

Dave: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Cordarrelle Patterson

Analysis: The Steelers only had two running backs get a carry last season, so kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson will be fine as a third option with others landing on the practice squad.

Jeff: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Cordarrelle Patterson

Analysis: How they view Patterson, and his role with the team, will be interesting. At this point, I see him as more of a running back than a wide receiver/return man. I’ll stick with these three, but an UDFA, Daijun Edwards, might shock some people when given the chance.

Fullback (0)

Dave: None

Analysis: You could put Connor Heyward here if you really wanted, but I’m listing him at tight end.

Jeff: None

Analysis: Like Dave said, there might be a player who could be put in this category, but the natural fullback has gone the way of the Dodo.

Wide Receiver (5)

Dave: George Pickens, Roman Wilson, Van Jefferson, Calvin Austin III, TBD addition

Analysis: I think having Wilson, Jefferson, Austin, and Quez Watkins is way too much redundancy, so I’m keeping all but Watkins. I’m also going with 5 players and not 6 like last year as I don’t know that the special teams spot Miles Boykin took up would give the extra player. If no player is added, I would give the spot to Dez Fitzpatrick or Denzel Mims, but I think the Steelers will add a player to this group. The bigger question is when it will happen.

Jeff: George Pickens, Roman Wilson, Van Jefferson, Calvin Austin III, Denzel Mims

Analysis: I agree wholeheartedly with Dave in the fact the Steelers are going to add a wide receiver to their depth chart, but I couldn’t use a spot on a player who isn’t on the roster. So, in the meantime, I’ll take Mims to round out the group.

Tight End (4)

Dave: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward, Rodney Williams

Analysis: With only 5 wide receivers, the Steelers get 4 spots here which uses the fullback spot. Plus, I think Hot Rod Williams gives the key special teams production to justify the spot being here rather than at receiver.

Jeff: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward, Rodney Williams

Analysis: The Steelers are going to do with a heavy personnel approach with Arthur Smith, and I could see the camp battle being between Williams and MyCole Pruitt for the 4th and final spot. Very well could come down to special teams play, in which case I’ll give the nod to Williams.

Offensive Line (10)

Dave: Broderick Jones, Dan Moore Jr, Troy Fautanu, Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Nate Herbig, Zach Frazier, Dylan Cook, Mason McCormick, Spencer Anderson

Analysis: I like all 10 of these players, so I’m keeping them all at this time. Whether someone gets traded or is injured is a possibility come September to keep the number at a more realistic 9, I think it could be other circumstances that determines if one of these players is out.

Jeff: Broderick Jones, Troy Fautanu, Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Zach Frazier, Nate Herbig, Mason McCormick, Spencer Anderson, Dylan Cook, Dan Moore Jr.

Analysis: As Dave said, keeping all 10 of these linemen makes sense, but I could also see someone being cut/traded which would surprise many people when looking at the depth chart. Nonetheless, when you have the roster spots, you use them.

Total Offense: 25


Defensive Line (7)

Dave: Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, Logan Lee, Isaiahh Loudermilk

Analysis: I kept out DeMarvin Leal as a player who was inactive the last part of last season. I was also attempted to leave out Isaiahh Loudermilk. But for now I’m keeping seven players because I don’t know what Dean Lowry has to offer. If the Steelers need to keep an extra defensive back, I have Loudermilk as being expendable.

Jeff: Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, Montravius Adams, Logan Lee, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Dean Lowry

Analysis: When talking about camp battles, I foresee the battle between DeMarvin Leal and Loudermilk. The winner gets a roster spot, the other will be looking for employment elsewhere, or the hopes of being signed to the team’s practice squad. Either way, this will be a position to watch, but I do see them keeping seven players to hopefully limit Cam Heyward’s usage.

Outside Linebacker (4)

Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, Jeremiah Moon

Analysis: Even though I was tempted to add a player here who was not yet on the Steelers roster like I did other places, sometimes I forget the Steelers poached Jeremiah Moon from the Ravens when they tried to sneak him onto their practice squad at the end of last season. Perhaps he can fill the fourth role nicely.

Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, Jeremiah Moon

Analysis: I totally forgot about Moon until I saw Dave put him in his prediction, which made me feel as if the team might be happy with what they have at the position. If they aren’t, getting someone like Markus Golden, who is still a free agent, would be a great way to round out the position group.

Inside Linebacker (4)

Dave: Patrick Queen, Elandon Roberts, Cole Holcomb, Payton Wilson

Analysis: The biggest question here is the availability of Cole Holcomb to start the season. If he is on PUP or even the Reserve/Injured List, then a player like Mark Robinson could sneak in. Otherwise, if Holcomb is available, this is a nice group of inside linebackers.

Jeff: Patrick Queen, Elandon Roberts, Cole Holcomb, Payton Wilson

Analysis: Can Holcomb return to the lineup and stay healthy? Would he start the year on the PUP List? If so, Mark Robinson would have a clear-cut path to the roster. If Holcomb returns, it seems as if Robinson may be expendable.

Cornerback (5)

Dave: Joey Porter Jr., Donte Jackson, Cory Trice, Beanie Bishop, TBD addition

Analysis: I said about the Steelers, adding another player who I think will make the roster, it could actually be two. If they had both another outside cornerback and slot option, then Beanie Bishop slides to the practice squad as a UDFA. When looking at the other young cornerbacks, I picked Cory Trice, simply based on the hype, but in no way am I guaranteeing he makes the roster.

Jeff: Joey Porter Jr., Donte Jackson, Cory Trice, Darius Rush, Beanie Bishop

Analysis: I could see the Steelers keeping six defensive backs, but for now I have them just sticking with 5, considering how they’ll use many of them in their sub packages. Like I said earlier, I’ll stick with players who are actually on the roster, but I fully expect the Steelers to make at least one move at the cornerback position before training camp starts.

Safety (5)

Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DeShon Elliott, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Ryan Watts

Analysis: As long as the Steelers keep Deontae Kazee around, I think the first four names on this list are locks. I was very tempted to go with Trenton Thompson here because I think he offers more at safety, but Ryan Watts is an interesting candidate for the gunner position on special teams. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Steelers kept both of them and one less defensive lineman.

Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DeShon Elliott, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, Ryan Watts

Analysis: Watts is the interesting piece of the puzzle here. He has experience at cornerback, but the size and athleticism of a safety. Therefore, he could technically be added to the cornerback room as well, even though he could play both. This room looks just fine to me, all I care about is getting Fitzpatrick back at the center field position this season.

Total Defense: 25

Special Teams

Specialists (3)

Dave: Chris Boswell, Cameron Johnston, Christian Kuntz

Analysis: Because Chris Boswell is who he is, and the Steelers paid the other two players this offseason, I don’t think there are any questions here.

Jeff: Chris Boswell, Cam Johnston, Christian Kuntz

Analysis: Nothing to see here, this will be status quo barring an injury.

Total Team: 53

We break down the 53-man roster further on the latest episode of the “Let’s Ride” podcast. You can check out the latest episode in the player below:

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