Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: One Week Into Training Camp

By Jeremy Hritz

There have been so many changes that have occurred in the last two weeks in terms of the Steelers roster that I felt it was necessary to revisit my initial 53-man roster prediction, especially after the signing of Melvin Ingram, Chaz Green, and the retirement of Vince Williams. While this forecast will undergo several iterations, here is where we stand as of Monday, July 26th, 2021.


Nothing out of the ordinary here, with Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, and Dwayne Haskins as your top three. This is the last stop for Joshua Dobbs, and while I am hopeful they can utilize him as trade bait, I don’t see that as a reality.


There is only one, and his name is Derek Watt. Look for him to be (actually) utilized in this year’s version of the Steelers’ offense under Matt Canada. Apologies to Derek for lumping him into the running back room my last go-round.

Running Back

In descending order: 1) Najee Harris, 2) Bennie Snell, 3), Anthony McFarland, and 4) Kalen Ballage. Jaylen Samuels still is the odd man out, and his time with the team has expired. There has been speculation that Snell will be cut, but I believe that to be too premature, especially with the promise he showed last year, and the thinness it would cause at the position. There has been speculation, though not confirmed, that the Rams were interested in trading for Snell to compensate for the injury to Cam Akers, but there has been no verification this report is true. Snell was drafted in the 4th round, and the Steelers would be foolish to give him up for anything less.

Tight End

No change here for me, as Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, and Zach Gentry are my top three. Freiermuth has been receiving some early buzz, so he is a player worthy of monitoring throughout camp, and also in preseason contests. I expect him to get a decent amount of snaps in the Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Wide Receivers

No change here, also, to the wide receiver room with Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Dionate Johnson, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud as my top 5. However, Rico Bussey has generated some positive praise early in camp, so keep an eye on his play as the preseason wears on. Oh yeah, he can return kicks, too.

Offensive Line

Things are jacked up right now on the offensive line as a result of injuries.

Despite that and despite the signing of Chaz Green as tackle depth, I don’t see Green making the roster. In fact, I don’t believe the Steelers are done with the tackle position, and I fully expect them to address it prior to the start of the regular season. Too much at stake in terms of Ben’s health to not have someone of substance beyond Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner.

In terms of who makes it, your starting five are: Okorafor, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Trai Turner, and Banner. The depth behind these gentlemen will be provided by BJ Finney, Joe Haeg, and brawler Dan Moore, Jr. Green is a camp body, nothing more.

Defensive Line

No changes here on the defensive line, but I do want to point out a great observation by Neal Coolong whom you can follow @NealCoolong on Twitter. Neal mentioned how this week marked the second time Isaiah Buggs was involved in an altercation with another teammate (Carlos Davis first, then Moore Jr.). For me, this solidifies his exit with the team, as I originally predicted. Your preserved defensive linemen are as follows: Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu, Stephon Tuitt, Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk, and Davis.

Inside Linebacker

Vince Williams’ retirement shocked everyone in Steelers Nation, and nobody saw it coming. While some predicted that Williams would be cut, his experience and leadership were valuable, especially in light of the Twitter drama provided by Devin Bush. His loss will be felt, and it will put the responsibility on the current ILB room to step up and to take on a leadership role. As it stands now, Bush, Robert Spillane, Ulysses Gilbert III, Buddy Johnson, who has received positive praise in camp, and Marcus Allen will make up the inside backer room.

Outside Linebacker

The signing of Melvin Ingram has made Cassius Marsh expendable, and I forsee him being cut soon. Ingram will provide versatility and rest to TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith, as well as creativity to Keith Butler. The final OLB to make the roster will be Quincey Roche, though keep an eye on Calvin Bundage who can play both ILB and OLB, and also has experience at safety. He has the potential to carve out a niche role with the team.


There is no change to my cornerback forecast: Joe Haden, Cam Sutton, James Pierre, Justin Layne, Arthur Maulet, and Mark Gilbert. Maulet is in the thick of a battle for the nickelback spot, and Gilbert has the athleticism and speed to compete for a roster spot on the outside. Had he not been hurt in college, he would have been a high-round draft pick.


No changes at the safety position, though for a minute, I was buying into the signing of Malik Hooker. Heading into the season, it will be Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Antoine Brooks, Jr. (seems destined to be the nickleback), Tre Norwood, and Miles Killebrew. Worth nothing about Killebrew is that he also plays ILB and more than likely will be featured on special teams for the Steelers. I also want to acknowledge that UDRFA Lamont Wade has impressed early in camp and should be included in the conversation at safety.


No discussion or debate: Chris Boswell.


I’m sticking with Pressley Harvin to unseat Jordan Berry. As long as he can be consistent in his punts, the job is his.

Long Snapper

Kameron Canaday. Is analysis even really needed here?

PositionPlayerHeightWeightYear ExperienceCollege
3Ben Roethlisberger6’524017Miami (OH)
Mason Rudolph6’52353Oklahoma State
Dwayne Haskins6’42302Ohio State
Running Back
5Najee Harris6’1232RAlabama
Bennie Snell, Jr.5’102242Kentucky
Anthony McFarland5’81931Maryland
Kalen Ballage6’22313Arizona State
Derek Watt6’22345Wisconsin
Tight End
3Eric Ebron6’42537North Carolina
Pat Freiermuth6’5258RPenn State
Zach Gentry6’82652Michigan
Wide Receiver
5Juju Smith-Schuster6’12154USC
Chase Claypool6’42381Notre Dame
Dionate Johnson5’101832Toledo
James Washington5’112133Oklahoma State
RayRay McCloud5’91903Clemson
Offensive Line
8Kendrick Green6’4315RIllinois
Kevin Dotson6’43211UL Lafayette
Trai Turner6’33157LSU
Chukwuma Okorafor6’63203Western Michigan
Zach Banner6’83354USC
BJ Finney6’43185Kansas State
Joe Haeg6’62985North Dakota State
Dan Moore, Jr.6’5311RTexas A&M
Defensive Line
6Cameron Heyward6’529510Ohio State
Stephon Tuitt6’63037Notre Dame
Tyson Alualu6’330411California
Chris Wormley6’53004Michigan
Isaiahh Loudermilk6’7274RWisconsin
Carlos Davis6’23201Nebraska
Inside Linebacker
5Devin Bush5’112342Michigan
Robert Spillane6’12292Western Michigan
Ulysses Gilbert III6′2302Akron
Buddy Johnson6’2240RTexas A&M
Marcus Allen6’22153Penn State
Outside Linebacker
4TJ Watt6’42524Wisconsin
Alex Highsmith6’42421Charlotte
Melvin Ingram6’224710South Carolina
Quincey Roche6’3245RMiami (FL)
6Joe Haden5’1119511Florida
Cameron Sutton5’111884Tennessee
James Pierre6’21851Florida Atlantic
Justin Layne6’21922Michigan State
Arthur Maulet5’101903Memphis
Mark Gilbert6′186RDuke
5Minkah Fitzpatrick6’12073Alabama
Terrell Edmunds6’12173Virginia Tech
Antoine Brooks, Jr.5’112101Maryland
Tre Norwood6′192ROklahoma
Miles Killebrew6’22225Southern Utah
1Chris Boswell6’21856Rice
1Pressley Harvin5’11263RGeorgia Tech
Long Snapper
1Kameron Canaday6’42454Portland State

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