Pittsburgh Steelers 53-Man Roster Projections

By Donny Chedrick and Kyle Dawson

Saturday is cut-down day for teams in the NFL, and while some moves have been made already by teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers have not yet made any official transactions.

It’s time for the COMON Network team to release our 53-man roster projections. Below you will find some analysis and explanation on some of the not-so-easy decisions. Under each position you will find the projections from Donny and Kyle.

Also next week, the COMON Network Podcast will be releasing two episodes. Monday, the guys are joined by Hall of Fame NFL Writer John Clayton and then the guys will preview the big picture of the NFL season. Then Friday the guys will release a Steelers preview episode, but given that is past cut-down day, the projections are here instead.

Quarterbacks

Donny (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges

Kyle (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges

Runningbacks

Donny (4): James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., Jaylen Samuels, Anthony McFarland

Explanation: The RB room is crowded. The only guy out of the four I can see getting cut is Samuels, but his tie with new assistant coach, Matt Canada helps him stay in black and gold.

Kyle (4): James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., Jaylen Samuels, Anthony McFarland

Fullback

Donny (1): Derek Watt

Kyle (1): Derek Watt

Wide Receivers

Donny (6): JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Deon Cain, Ryan Switzer

Explanation: Really didn’t want to have Swizer’s name on here, but Ben loves him. He ain’t going anywhere.

Kyle (6): JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Chase Claypool, Ryan Switzer, Deon Cain

Explanation: Give me Cain as the sixth. Some will want the Steelers to keep Trey Edmunds as a special teamer, but I see the value of the sixth WR as much better than a fifth halfback. The Steelers don’t normally like keeping four, but you have to this year for a few reasons up there at RB. Give me Cain over Ray-Ray McLoud, who has reportedly been solid since he was signed in camp. I’m very excited to see Claypool’s body of work in game action, because he’s drawn a ton of praise from reporters, Coach Tomlin and his teammates.

Tight Ends:

Donny (3): Vance McDonald, Eric Ebron, Zach Gentry

Explanation: Gentry gets a scare, but has to prove his value with two significantly better tight ends ahead of him. 

Kyle (3): Vance McDonald, Eric Ebron, Zach Gentry

Offensive Linemen

Donny (8): Alejandro Villanueva, Stephen Wisniewski, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, Chuks Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, Zach Banner

Explanation: These are the eight best linemen on the roster. I actually can’t think of why this won’t be the eight that make it, unless they only take seven. 

Kyle (8): Alejandro Villanueva, Stephen Wisniewski, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, Chuks Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, Zach Banner

Explanation: If David DeCastro’s injury is longer term and he has to get put on IR, you’re probably looking at Derwin Gray being on the roster, but DeCastro will be on the 53-man to start, obviously. This is a unit that needs to improve from last year. It probably got too much heat, but I also think it’ll be interesting to see who lands where in the starting lineup. It appears as though Feiler will play left guard in Ramon Foster’s spot. Chuks at RT and maybe Dotson slides in but Wisniewski is first at guard behind Feiler.

Defensive Linemen

Donny (6): Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Cam Heyward, Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs, Carlos Davis

Explanation: Dan McCullers has had years to make an impact. He hasn’t. Time for Isaiah Buggs and Carlos Davis to have a shot. 

Kyle (6): Stephon Tuitt, Cam Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs, Dan McCullers

Explanation: You’ll read the same thing in safeties for me, but I went with the more experienced player here in McCullers at nose instead of seventh-rounder Carlos Davis. Henry Mondeaux is a guy that some experts are keeping here as well, so keep his name in mind.

Inside Linebackers

Donny (5): Vince Williams, Devin Bush, Ulysses Gilbert III, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen

Explanation: Marcus Allen’s move to inside linebacker may have saved his time in Pittsburgh. I like the change. He and Ulysses Gilbert could be a viable option. Spillane and Elliott could play roles on special teams.

Kyle (4): Vince Williams, Devin Bush, Ulysses Gilbert III, Robert Spillane

Outside Linebackers

Donny (5): Bud Dupree, TJ Watt, Ola Adeniyi, Alex Highsmith, Tuzar Skipper (had before reported release), Jayrone Elliot (after report of Skipper’s release)

Explanation: Tuzar Skipper got cut Friday afternoon. I don’t think they make any other changes at outside linebacker. 

Kyle (5): Bud Dupree, TJ Watt, Ola Adeniyi, Alex Highsmith, Tuzar Skipper (had before reported release), Jayrone Elliot (after report of Skipper’s release)

Explanation: Some beat reporters have kept four, others have kept five. Some have kept Jayrone Elliot and let Skipper go. If Skipper is cut, it’d be for the second consecutive year. I’m not buying it. I like Skipper. UPDATE – Guess I don’t know what I’m talking about. Skipper is out. Hopefully he clears and gets back on the practice squad.

Cornerbacks

Donny (5): Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Justin Layne

Explanation: This is a year for Justin Layne to prove his worth. Hopefully he can show what Cam Sutton showed last year.

Kyle (5): Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Justin Layne

Safeties

Donny (4): Terrell Edmunds, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jordan Dangerfield, Antoine Brooks Jr.

Explanation: The rookie Antonie Brooks Jr. could be a final day cut, but I like the rookie to make the final 53-man roster. Maybe he even provides a challenge to Terrell Edmunds. 

Kyle (5): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Jordan Dangerfield, Curtis Riley, Marcus Allen

Explanation: I’ve got Curtis Riley over the rookie and draft choice Antoine Brooks Jr. here. Riley started for the Giants a few years back and is the veteran option while Brooks Jr. didn’t get reports of standing out much in a short offseason with no game action to go on. He’ll hopefully slide onto the practice squad. I also have Allen listed here, but if you want to list him as an ILB, that’s fine too. Jordan Dangerfield is good enough on special teams compared to DB.

Specialists

Donny (3): Chris Boswell (K), Jordan Perry (P), Kameron Canaday (LS)

Kyle (3): Chris Boswell (K), Jordan Perry (P), Kameron Canaday (LS)

We’ll see what the official roster looks like soon enough. From there the practice squad will be filled out. Again, be sure to stay tuned for the two football preview podcast episodes next week. COMON.

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