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Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster: Pre-training camp edition

The kickoff to the 2023 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 2023 season. With no players actually setting foot on even a preseason field yet, 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!

Offense


Quarterback (3)

Dave: Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph

Changes: None

Analysis: There is little doubt to both these players and the order this season.

Jeff: Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph

Changes: None

Analysis: I echo what Dave stated above.


Running Back (3)

Dave: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr.

Changes: None

Analysis: I was really tempted to only go with players and have the Steelers keep more running backs on the practice squad, but it seemed a little too bold… yet.

Jeff: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr.

Changes: None

Analysis: While there are options, Jordan Byrd, who could sneak onto the depth chart, I’ll go with Ant-Mac finally getting a shot to lock up the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, but he’ll have to prove his worth on special teams.


Fullback (0)

Dave: None

Changes: None

Analysis: The Steelers won’t keep someone who is strictly a fullback unless they are blown away in training camp.

Jeff: None

Changes: None

Analysis: As you’ll see when we get to the tight ends, I have a full back on the roster, but not someone who would be considered a natural fullback.


Wide Receiver (6)

Dave: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Anthony Miller Cody White

Changes: Anthony Miller out, Cody White in

Analysis: I’m still going with six players for now. Obviously Miller is out as I was surprised he was cut before camp. But rather than go with Hakeen Butler or Gunner Olszewski, I’m giving the advantage to the G.O.A.T. Cody White who has reportedly had the strongest offseason of the receivers.

Jeff: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin, Cody White

Changes: Butler out, White in

Analysis: As SCN’s Jim Wexell said on my “Let’s Ride” podcast, there is a reason Hakeem Butler has never made it on an NFL roster. Throw that in with our sourced information on how great White has done this season and I’ll make that swap at the 6th, and final, wide receiver spot.


Tight End (4)

Dave: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward, Zach Gentry

Changes: None

Analysis: As I said before, Connor Heyward basically fills out both position fullback and tight end groups so the Steelers can keep four tight ends. But to see the Steelers only go with three would not be shocking.

Jeff: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Zach Gentry, Connor Heyward

Changes: None

Analysis: Nothing to see here. Barring an injury I see all four making the roster, and that includes Gentry. Heyward also fills two positions with one roster spot, being able to fill in as a fullback/h-back as needed.


Offensive Line (9)

Dave: Chukwuma Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr, Broderick Jones, Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Nate Herbig, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green

Changes: None

Analysis: As I’ve said previously, I think the final spot on the offensive line right now is between Kendrick Green, Spencer Anderson, and Le’Raven Clark. Although I’m likely to just rotate a different player in every time until I’m more convinced, this time I left it alone.

Jeff: Chuks Okorafor, Dan Moore Jr., Broderick Jones, Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Nate Herbig, Kevin Dotson, Mason Cole, Kendrick Green

Changes: None

Analysis: To me, Spencer Anderson is a practice squad hopeful. In the meantime, I don’t think they give up on Kendrick Green just yet.

Total Offense: 25

Defense

Defensive Line (7)

Dave: Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, DeMarvin Leal, Keeanu Benton, Breiden Fehoko, Montravius Adams Armon Watts, Isaiahh Loudermilk

Changes: Montravius Adams out, Armon Watts in

Analysis: First, there is no guarentee the Steelrs keep seven players on the defensive line. But the more I think about it, where cuts might come is a player who is strictly a nose tackle. For now, I have Fehoko over Adams but both players, as well as Isaiahh Loudermilk or Armon Watts, could be on the chopping block.

Jeff: Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, DeMarvin Leal, Keeanu Benton, Breiden Fehoko, Montravius Adams, Isaiahh Loudermilk

Changes: None

Analysis: If there was a player who I could predict potentially missing out on a roster spot, it would be Montravius Adams. Adams has value, but if rookie Benton is capable he could find his spot gone if someone else steps up.


Outside Linebacker (4)

Dave: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden, Nick Herbig

Changes: None

Analysis: I still have the Steelers only keeping four in this group, but I could see players such as Quincy Roche and David Perales on the practice squad to be used later in the season.

Jeff: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, Markus Golden

Changes: None

Analysis: With Golden rounding out the Top 4 it seems like Quincy Roche is hoping to find a new NFL home barring an injury.


Inside Linebacker (4)

Dave: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Mark Robinson, Tanner Muse

Changes: None

Analysis: Nick Kwiatowski is tempting here, but not if the Steelers only keep four

Jeff: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Mark Robinson, Tanner Muse

Changes: None

Analysis: If thought they might add another ILB at some point before training camp, but they didn’t. At the same time I could also see them staying with the players they have on the roster and having a plan we just don’t know what that is right now.


Cornerback (6)

Dave: Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, Joey Porter Jr., James Pierre, Cory Trice, Chandon Sullivan

Changes: None

Analysis: The Steelers could go with one less player here if they need it somewhere else. If so, I think it’s Pierre or Sullivan depending on how other things play out in the slot.

Jeff: Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, Joey Porter Jr., James Pierre, Cory Trice, Chandon Sullivan

Changes: Sullivan In

Analysis: It looks like Sullivan is the leader in the clubhouse at the slot cornerback position, but the Steelers are also really high on Elijah Riley. He could help kill fill two roster spots by himself.


Safety (4)

Dave: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Miles Killebrew Elijah Riley

Changes: Miles Killebrew out, Elijah Riley in

Analysis: I still have the Steelers only keeping four safeties, and this time they don’t have a pot for special teams. If the Steelers only keep four, Miles Killebrew would have a tough road. His best route is to make them keep a fifth player because they want him on special teams. As for Riley over Norwood, Jeff has me convinced.

Jeff: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Elijah Riley

Changes: Killebrew out

Analysis: The Steelers were extremely impressed with Riley throughout the offseason workouts. He’ll have every opportunity to prove himself in training camp, but Riley’s versatility, and ability to play the slot in heavier packages, has him with a spot on my 53-man roster. On top of that, Killebrew is strictly a special teams player at this juncture.

Total Defense: 25

Special Teams

Specialists (3)

Dave: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz

Changes: None

Analysis: I still think Big Press holds his job until he gets blatantly out-kicked.

Jeff: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz

Changes: None

Analysis: Nothing to note here.

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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