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Steelers Analysis

Post-Draft Steelers 53-Man Roster Projection

After the close of the 2024 NFL Draft, we put together our first 2024 Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster projection.

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Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers team huddles against the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 15, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers have done most of the roster building ahead of the 2024 NFL season, and while it seems that Omar Khan is still on the prowl for a wide receiver, and possibly more than that, but for the most part, the pool of players that head coach Mike Tomlin will have to pick from when he selects his opening roster is here.

So while it’s very early in the calendar, it’s not too early to take a look at what the Steelers’ first 53-man roster might look like.

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Keep: Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, Kyle Allen
Cut: John Rhys Plumlee

The Steelers have traditionally kept three quarterbacks, and there wouldn’t really be a reason to sign someone like Kyle Allen if they didn’t intend to do so again this season. The intrigue at quarterback will be the order of the first two, not who makes the roster.

Last year: Mason Rudolph, Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky

RUNNING BACKS (3)

Keep: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Cordarrelle Patterson
Cut: Aaron Shampklin, Jack Colletto, Daijun Edwards

Cordarrelle Patterson’s status as the team’s top kick returner means it’ll be hard for UDFA Daijun Edwards to pass him. Edwards, who ran for over 2,000 yards at Georgia, could make the squad as a fourth running back, or provide depth from the practice squad.

Last year: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)

Keep: George Pickens, Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins, Calvin Austin III, Roman Wilson
Cut: Dez Fitzpatrick, Denzel Mims, Marquez Callaway, Duece Watts, Keilahn Harris, Scotty Miller

Just-signed Scotty Miller doesn’t move the needle here. The very interesting thing at this position will be what happens if Khan is able to make a trade for another wideout. Will they keep six at that point? Or is someone like Quez Watkins — or even Calvin Austin III — on the chopping block?

Last year: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson, Calvin Austin III, Gunner Olszewski, Miles Boykin

Pittsburgh Steelers

Atlanta Falcons tight end MyCole Pruitt (85) during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Keep: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward, MyCole Pruitt
Cut: Rodney Williams II

Rodney Williams had a really solid first year as a Steelers contributor in 2023, but MyCole Pruitt had to be signed with the intention of him making the team, right? Hot Rod would be a tough cut.

Last year: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward

TACKLES (4)

Keep: Dan Moore Jr., Broderick Jones, Troy Fautanu, Dylan Cook
Cut: Devery Hamilton, Tyler Beach, Kellen Diesch

The only real question at this position seems to be whether or not the Steelers will field trade offers for Dan Moore Jr. after landing Troy Fautanu in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Last yar: Dan Moore Jr., Chukwuma Okorafor, Broderick Jones, Dylan Cook

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Spencer Anderson

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Spencer Anderson in a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan. 6, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

CENTER/GUARDS (5)

Keep: Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Zach Frazier, Nate Herbig, Mason McCormick
Cut: Spencer Anderson, Ryan McCollum, Anderson Hardy, Joey Fisher

Spencer Anderson is the first player on the cut list that spent most of last season with the team, but the Steelers drafted two interior linemen in center Zach Frazier and guard Mason McCormick, and only lost one by cutting Mason Cole. Maybe the team will move Anderson back to right tackle and let him battle with Dylan Cook for the second backup spot there. Seems like a better path to the roster.

Last year: Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels, Mason Cole, Nate Herbig, Spencer Anderson

Steelers DE DeMarvin Leal Browns Depth Chart

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end DeMarvin Leal on Sept. 10, 2023. – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (7)

Keep: Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, Montravius Adams, Dean Lowry, Isaiahh Loudermilk, DeMarvin Leal
Cut: Logan Lee, Breiden Fehoko, Jonathan Marshall, Jacob Slade

Last year, the Steelers seemed to have an embarrassment of riches on the defensive line coming out of training camp. They cut Breiden Fehoko, only to have him stick around all season between the practice squad and the active roster. Fehoko is back, the team lost just one 2023 player (Armon Watts) and added two in free agent Dean Lowry and sixth-round rookie Logan Lee. Now the battle will be even tighter in 2024.

With so much depth, and without a clearly established role in Pittsburgh’s rotation through two seasons, it’s easy to see a player like DeMarvin Leal being traded this offseason, if another team shows interest.

Last year: Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, Montravius Adams, Armon Watts, Isaiahh Loudermilk, DeMarvin Leal

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)

Keep: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, Jeremiah Moon
Cut: David Perales, Kyron Johnson, Julius Welschof

I expected the Steelers to bring in someone to push Nick Herbig for the third outside linebacker job, but they haven’t so far. They must really like Jeremiah Moon, who they claimed on waivers from the Baltimore Ravens during the playoffs.

Last year: T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden, Nick Herbig

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)

Keep: Patrick Queen, Elandon Roberts, Cole Holcomb, Payton Wilson, Mark Robinson
Cut: Tyler Murray, Jacoby Windmon

This really depends on Cole Holcomb’s health, as he has not yet returned after mid-season knee surgery last year. If Holcomb starts the season on the PUP list, the Steelers could conceivably just keep four here and go with an extra defensive back.

They could just go with four if Holcomb is healthy, but the changes to the kickoff rules seem to favor linebacker body types and Mark Robinson has been an effective special teamer.

Last year: Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Kwon Alexander, Mark Robinson

SAFETIES (4)

Keep: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DeShon Elliott, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew
Cut: Trenton Thompson, Nathan Meadors, Jalen Elliot

If the Steelers only went with eight linebackers, Trenton Thompson would be the player I’d add back to the 53-man roster. He played well when called upon last season. Otherwise, I suppose he could beat out Miles Killebrew, but it doesn’t seem likely that the Steelers would move on from their All-Pro special teamer.

Last year: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Miles Killebrew

 CB Beanie Bishop West Virginia

Beanie Bishop, WVU Athletics

CORNERBACKS (6)

Keep: Joey Porter Jr., Donte Jackson, Cory Trice Jr., Darius Rush, Ryan Watts, Beanie Bishop
Cut: Josiah Scott, Luq Barcoo, Kalon Barnes, Thomas Graham

The Steelers have plenty of big-bodied outside cornerbacks, but almost no small, quick slot options. Undrafted rookie Beanie Bishop takes that place on the roster by default, but someone like Cam Sutton, Chandon Sullivan or Patrick Peterson could easily claim that spot in the slot. Sixth-round rookie Ryan Watts isn’t a guarantee to make the roster, either, and if one of those veterans is signed, it could be Watts against Bishop for the final slot.

Last year: Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, Joey Porter Jr., Chandon Sullivan, James Pierre, Elijah Riley

SPECIALISTS (4)

Keep: Chris Boswell, Cameron Johnston, Christian Kuntz
Cut: Matthew Wright

Nothing to see here, though Matthew Wright might be the closest they’ve had to a real challenger for Chris Boswell in a while.

Last year: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz