Steelers Final 53-Man Roster Project: Post-Panthers Game

By Jeremy Hritz

Preseason is over. Thankfully.

Now, the real work can get started, and the attention can shift to Buffalo. Before the Steelers can do that, they have to whittle their roster down to 53 by 4:00 PM on Tuesday, August 31st and have set the group of men they will go into battle with during the 2021 season.

The contest against the Panthers was a very telling one, and it decided the fate for a lot of players, and following the performance, here is my final iteration of the 2021 53-man Steelers roster, with analysis where appropriate.

*Please note at the bottom of this article is a table including my entire 53-man roster prediction.

Offensive Roster Breakdown

After only keeping 4 running backs on the roster for the past month, I am now keeping 5 after the performance of Bennie Snell, which wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was solid, and the Steelers will need depth with their newfound emphasis on the running game. I still believe Kalen Ballage makes the roster, as he had the best performance all preseason for a running back, and if I was forced to decide between Snell and Ballage, I’d go with Ballage.

At wide receiver, Mathew Sexton dropped his opportunity, literally, against the Panthers, and will not serve as the team’s 5th receiver and return man, keeping the door open for Ray-Ray McCloud, though I would not be surprised at all if the team looks for a 5th WR/return man via waiver wire.

No changes at OL, Tight End, or QB in this final prediction.

Defensive Roster Breakdown

Isaiah Buggs has shown enough to creep back onto the 53, now giving them 7 defensive linemen on the roster, and in order to make room for this move, instead of keeping 5 OLBs, I am only retaining 4, with Jamir Jones pushing out Cassius Marsh and Quincey Roche, and while I don’t want to risk Roche to other teams, he should filter through so the Steelers can put him on the practice squad.

I am sticking with 5 ILBs, though I would not be shocked if Robert Spillane was cut, as his preseason performance was dreadful. However, if that move were made, the depth would be extremely inexperienced, and something I don’t believe the Steelers would prefer heading into the season.

The only other change from my previous 53, is I now have Arthur Maulet making the roster, though I have a strong intuition that team is looking for options for the slot CB, though they may not be successful in doing so.

Special Teams Roster Breakdown

The only change here is that Christian Kuntz is the new long snapper, saving the team ever-so-slightly in the salary cap, but everything else stays the same.

PositionPlayerHeightWeightYear ExperienceCollege
3Ben Roethlisberger6’524017Miami (OH)
Mason Rudolph6’52353Oklahoma State
Dwayne Haskins6’42302Ohio State
Running Back
5Najee Harris6’1232RAlabama
Anthony McFarland5’81931Maryland
Bennie Snell5’102242Kentucky
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
Ray-Ray McCloud5’91903Clemson
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
7Cameron Heyward6’529510Ohio State
Stephon Tuitt6’63037Notre Dame
Tyson Alualu6’330411California
Chris Wormley6’53004Michigan
Isaiahh Loudermilk6’7274RWisconsin
Carlos Davis6’23201Nebraska
Isaiah Buggs6’32952Alabama
Inside Linebacker
5Devin Bush5’112342Michigan
Joe Schobert6’12456Wisconsin
Robert Spillane6’12293Western Michigan
Buddy Johnson6’2240RTexas A&M
Marcus Allen6’22153Penn State
Outside Linebacker
4TJ Watt6’42524Wisconsin
Alex Highsmith6’42421Charlotte
Melvin Ingram6’224710South Carolina
Jamir Jones6’32551Notre Dame
5Joe Haden5’1119511Florida
Cameron Sutton5’111884Tennessee
James Pierre6’21851Florida Atlantic
Justin Layne6’21923Michigan State
Arthur Maulet5’91904Memphis
4Minkah Fitzpatrick6’12073Alabama
Terrell Edmunds6’12173Virginia Tech
Tre Norwood6′192ROklahoma
Miles Killebrew6’22225Southern Utah
1Chris Boswell6’21856Rice
1Pressley Harvin5’11263RGeorgia Tech
Long Snapper
1Christian Kuntz6’12271Dusquense

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