Steelers 53-Man Roster Prediction: Post-Lions Game

By Jeremy Hritz

The Steelers will cut their roster down to 80 from 85 by 4:00 PM tomorrow, and there shouldn’t be too many surprises. The biggest shift in the roster will occur the following week on August 31st when they have to get down to 53 players, and following the game against the Lions, the unit they will carry into 2021 is coming into greater focus. After the solid performance against the Lions, here is my updated 53-man roster project, with some new addition and changes from the last iteration following the contest vs. the Eagles.


No changes here, but I do want to point out that the backup quarterback position is solidified, and Mason Rudolph is your official #2. I thought Dwayne Haskins would have followed Ben Roethlisberger this weekend only to be proven wrong. While Rudolph has not been electric, he has been steady. Haskins shot will come next year in terms of mobility on the depth chart.

Running Back

Sticking with Bennie Snell getting cut, and I have Kalen Ballage leaping Anthony McFarland as the backup RB.

Tight End

I keep going back and forth on this position, and following the HOF Game, I moved Kevin Rader into the #3, but while Zach Gentry has not shown much in the receiving game, he definitely has in his run blocking, which is enough to make him stick. With receiving threats in Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth, Gentry can serve as the “run game bully.”

Wide Receiver

OK, big change here for me due to Ray-Ray McCloud’s indecisiveness as a punt returner. Dating back to last season after a few nice returns, McCloud became hesitate to field punts and to try and make a play, and while it is a small sample size from Mathew Sexton, despite the pressure and knowing the need for him to make a play or perish, he delivered another outstanding punt return. While he hasn’t show much of anything in the receiving game, a quality return game can flip the field, and there is great value in that. If he balls out Friday against Carolina, he is in.

Offensive Line

No change to the offensive line, but I must say I feel better about the tackle position due to Dan Moore’s recent performance.

Defensive Line

No change to the defensive line.

Inside Linebacker

No change to inside linebacker, but I must admit, I have not been impressed by the play of Robert Spillane, and were it not for his experience acquired last season, he would be in danger to make the 53. Marcus Allen had a nice game on Saturday, and his versatility makes him valuable to the defense.

Outside Linebacker

OK, I am now keeping 5, but only because I cannot choose between Jamir Jones and Quincey Roche, and I believe both of them have potential worth developing, and I do not want to risk either of them to waiver wires. The signing of Melvin Ingram makes me comfortable in letting Cassius Marsh go and developing the young guys. The question is, what can they bring to special teams?


Justin Layne finds his way back to the 53 after a steady showing against the Lions, and maybe he has turned the corner in his development. I have cut Mark Gilbert, as he has now shown enough and needs more seasoning on the practice squad, in addition to releasing Arthur Maulet. Being that Antoine Brooks functions in the slot corner role, his versatility has me keeping only 4 true corners.


No changes to the safety room.

Special Teams

No changes to special teams.

53-Man Roster: 8/23/21

PositionPlayerHeightWeightYear ExperienceCollege
3Ben Roethlisberger6’524017Miami (OH)
Mason Rudolph6’52353Oklahoma State
Dwayne Haskins6’42302Ohio State
Running Back
4Najee Harris6’1232RAlabama
Anthony McFarland5’81931Maryland
Kalen Ballage6’22313Arizona State
Derek Watt6’22345Wisconsin
Tight End
3Eric Ebron6’42537North Carolina
Pat Freiermuth6’5258RPenn State
Zach Gentry6’82653Michigan
Wide Receiver
5Juju Smith-Schuster6’12154USC
Chase Claypool6’42381Notre Dame
Dionate Johnson5’101832Toledo
James Washington5’112133Oklahoma State
Mathew Sexton5’111751Eastern Michigan
Offensive Line
9Kendrick 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
Rashaad Coward6’53264Old Dominion
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
Joe Schobert6’12456Wisconsin
Robert Spillane6’12292Western Michigan
Buddy Johnson6’2240RTexas A&M
Marcus Allen6’22153Penn State
Outside Linebacker
5TJ Watt6’42524Wisconsin
Alex Highsmith6’42421Charlotte
Melvin Ingram6’224710South Carolina
Jamir Jones6’32551Notre Dame
Quincey Roche6’3245RMiami (FL)
4Joe Haden5’1119511Florida
Cameron Sutton5’111884Tennessee
James Pierre6’21851Florida Atlantic
Justin Layne6’21923Michigan State
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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