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Steelers 53-man Roster Prediction (Final)

QB (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Joshua Dobbs

Delvin Hodges has made a very interesting run. But he is not making the roster. And it’s really not close. Mason Rudolph/Josh Dobbs preseason battle was fun, but Rudolph came out out top. He looked very comfortable in the pocket, made wonderful adjustments and improvisations, and threw the ball well. Dobbs, on the other hand, has an outstanding eye for the deep-ball and can run with the best of ’em. The only way Delvin Hodges makes the roster is if the Steelers can get a 5th-round pick or more for Dobbs, but considering how much Mike Tomlin likes Dobbs, even that is unlikely.

RB (3): James Conner, Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell Jr.

The top 3 has been set in stone since the draft, but what should be more interesting is usage. Benny Snell still lacks burst and speed, but has impressed as a pass catcher and power back. He has struggled in the preseason, unable to find running lanes or free space to run into . Jaylen Samuels has looked extremely smooth, almost saucy, in his few reps during the preseason. This leaves James Conner to be the No. 1 RB in the backfield, which is no surprise considering he was a top-5 RB in the first 13 weeks of the 2018 season.

FB (1): Roosevelt Nix

Stud.

WR (6): JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncreif, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers, Ryan Switzer

Wide Receiver is definitely one of the most interesting camp battles for the team. Eli Rogers/Ryan Switzer play very similar roles as smaller slot receivers who are also key special teamers. Let’s make a case for both. Rogers is clearly very talented. His route running is truly special, and when he is healthy, he always finds a way to get the ball in his hands. He had his best year in 2016, going for 600 yards and 3 TDs despite having to fight for a job for the majority of the year. Ben Roethlsiberger clearly seems to like him, and Tomlin seems to as well. He reminds just a little of Antonio Brown, and his future development should be very interesting. Switzer, on the other hand, isn’t an outstanding router runner, but his hands are phenomenal. He made some great catches in traffic last year, often for clutch first downs. He’s a solid returner, and, despite being mediocre at the job in 2018, projects to be the kick and punt returner of the future. In the end, they both make the roster without many better options behind them. Diontae Spencer should stick to the practice squad after his outstanding training camp, but there just isn’t a clear role for him on the offense right now.

TE (3): Vance McDonald, Xavier Grimble, Zach Gentry

Tight End is an intriguing position for the Steelers in 2019. Vance McDonald seems to be on the verge of a breakout, but really hasn’t proved that he can be a top target in this offense just yet. Behind him, there is almost no depth. Xavier Grimble is interesting, as his blocking seems to have elevated, but he has never been a No. 2 in his career. He’s an average receiver, who has made some really tough catches in his career but struggles with drops. Gentry is an extremely raw player, who really shouldn’t even be a No. 3 for an NFL team at this point. But let’s see how he develops. Christian Scottland-Williamson is an extremely hard worker with solid hands, and while he does well on the sleds, his height makes it very difficult for him to block smaller pass rushers. If he made the roster, it would make for a very interesting season. But he probably won’t. Hope fully GM Kevin Colbert makes some kind of move at the position before the season starts.

LT (2): Alejandro Villanueva, Chuwkumu Okarafor

Alejandro Villanueva is set as a top-tier LT, but depth, all across the offensive line, is a little funky. Because so many of the Steelers backup offensive lineman are extremely versatile, pay less attention to what the players are listed as, and more to who makes the roster in general. Okarafor has done very well throughout training camp, and should be the No. 1 option at Left and Right Tackle if anyone gets hurt. Jerald Hawkins is a great guy with a positive mindset, but Derwin Gray makes the practice squad over him.

LG (2): Ramon Foster, B.J. Finney

This position is definitely sealed off for now, but the future should be interesting. Ramon Foster is aging, but still playing at a high level. B.J. Finney, on the other hand, has starting capability but an expiring contract to go with that. We’ll see what Kevin Colbert does with him in 2020.

C (1): Maurkice Pouncey

RG (2): David DeCastro, Fred Johnson

David DeCastro is an obvious lock, but Fred Johnson is interesting. He’s had a solid camp, and with little to no competition at the Right Guard Position, he has a solid opportunity to make the final roster. He’s large and physical and projects to be an imposing run blocker.

RT (2): Matt Feiler, Zach Banner

Matt Feiler gets the job at Right Tackle after slightly outperforming Okarafor during training camp and playing well as a starter in 2018. Banner makes the roster as well after a really solid training camp and a second year in the system. Make no mistake though, if Feiler is hurt or moves inside, it is most likely that Chukwumu Okarfor slides to Right Tackle rather than Banner.

LE (2): Stephon Tuitt, Isiah Buggs

This position is set, but Stephon Tuitt really needs to stay healthy. Isiah Buggs is a fun, young option if Tuitt’s fat contract eventually outweighs his ability to stay on the field, so lets monitor his development.

NT (2): Javon Hargrave, Dan McCullers

Nose Tackle is actually one of the positions I am most confident in for the upcoming season. Javon Hargrave is a budding star who’s good against the pass and run, even if he lacks size. “Big” Dan McCullers on the other hand, has size to an excess. At 6’7″ 348 lbs. McCullers is a huge, run stuffing defensive tackle who took a big step up last year. Once he realized his roster spot was at risk, his effort level rose exponentially, and it has worked really well for him.

RE (1): Cameron Heyward, Tyson Alualu

Two season veterans who are good at what they do. No problem here.

ROLB (2): Bud Dupree, Ola Adeniyi, Tuzar Skipper

Bud Dupree needs to step up, Sutton Smith is primarily for special teams and coverage downs, but Ola Adeniyi might just be the future ROLB of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His development and snap count should be very interestng as the season progresses. Tuzar Skipper has had a great preseason, and it looks like he can beat out Sutton Smith for a roster spot. He’s down extremely well as a pass-rusher and a run-stuffer, and while he hasn’t played much on Special Teams, he has shown that he is willing to do so. Just barely makes the roster, but him and Ola Adeniyi could be a very interesting pass-rush duo for the future.

MLB (5): Vince Williams, Devin Bush, Mark Barron, Ulysees Gilbert III, Tyler Matakevich

The first three are all set in stone, but I am very excited to see Ulysees Gilbert develop. He’s been having a great camp/preseason as of late, and, in all honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually replaces Mark Barron on obvious passing downs (I expect Vince Williams and Devin Bush to be the primary 3-4 starters).

LOLB (2): T.J. Watt, Anthony Chickillo

T.J. Watt is already a star in the NFL, but I’m not a big fan of Anthony Chickillo. The Steelers obviously disagree though, considering the contract extension he just received. I expect Sutton Smith to eventually be his long-term replacement.

CB (6): Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Justin Layne, Mike Hilton, Artie Burns, Cameron Sutton

Joe Haden should get a contract extension and continue to be the leader of this secondary. Everyone else is a bit of a question mark. Steven Nelson can make big plays but also let up huge ones. Justin Layne has the potential to be a star, but has a long, long way to go. Mike Hilton is quietly a stud in the slot, but the organization isn’t a huge fan of him for some reason. Artie Burns is average depth, and Cameron Sutton, at this point, seems to be nothing but depth as well.

FS (2): Sean Davis, Kameron Kelly

Sean Davis is solid but nothing more at this point. Kameron Kelly, on the other hand, is completely unproven but has tons of potential as someone with great college/AAF tape and a ton of turnovers throughout his career. It will be very interesting to see how this position group develops over the year.

SS (2): Terrell Edmunds, Marcus Allen

Slightly intriguing, but also slightly concerning position here. Both players are young but talented, and have to fight to prove themselves in 2019. Terrell Edmunds looked very good in the preseason, playing extremely fast and instinctive. Marcus Allen isn’t great depth, but with Mike Hilton taking some snaps at safety, and playing well, we should be set at the safety position.

K (1): Chris Boswell

P (1): Ian Berryman

Ian Berryman is kind of the counter to Jordan Berry. With a booming, if inconsistent, punting leg, Berryman strongly differs from Berry’s consistently mediocre punting career. Even with Berry’s recent extension, I would love to see something new at the position.

LS (1): Kameron Canaday

Practice Squad:

QB Delvin Hodges – It may be difficult for the Steelers to retain Hodges, and its not exactly likely the team keeps 4 QBs, but Steeler fans do not want give on Hodges, so we’re praying he sticks with the team

RB Trey Edmunds

WR Diontae Spencer

TE Christian Scotland-Williomson

OL Derwin Gray

DL Henry Mondeaux

LB Robert Spillane

LB Sutton Smith

LB Christian Kuntz

CB/S Marcelis Branch

 

 

 

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