Predicting the Steelers' 53-man roster: who's in, who's out after week three of the NFL preseason

By Mike Frazer
Aug. 29, 2019

Offense

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges (3)

Rudolph has distanced himself in the competition for QB2, but I'm still holding out hope that Joshua Dobbs will be traded. When you have another guy waiting in the wings, it's always better to try to trade the guy who may have some value. Whether it's a player-for-player trade or even just a seventh-round pick, getting something instead of nothing is always a good idea, especially when it comes to choosing your third quarterback. Any team that starts QB3 is doomed, anyway.

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

I still have Snell here, but if he doesn't play tonight -- or lays another egg -- then the job is probably going to Edmunds. Benny Snell better start learning how to play Benny Snell Football in a hurry.

Fullback: Roosevelt Nix (1)

Nothing to see here.

Tight End: Vance McDonald, Zach Gentry, Someone not currently on the roster (3)

Gentry has done something Grimble has not this pre-season: he at least showed up at the stadium each week. Grimble's biggest impact so far in 2019 is being ink on the pages of the gamebook.

Wide Receiver: JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson, Ryan Switzer, Diontae Spencer (6)

The question here is which two of Switzer, Spencer, Eli Rogers and Johnny Holton make the roster. Spencer has been a non-factor as a receiver but his dynamic abilities as a returner give him enough value to make the team. Switzer is the incumbent returner and can share those duties with Spencer, which leaves Rogers and Holton in the cold.

Offensive Line: Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor, B.J. Finney, Zach Banner (8)

The only change here this week is dropping Fred Johnson, and that's only because a roster spot needs to be freed up for someone who has made himself uncuttable. Keep reading to find out who.

Defense

Defensive Line: Cameron Heyward, Javon Hargrave, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Dan McCullers, Isaiah Buggs (6)

I actually waffled a bit here between Buggs and Henry Mondeaux, but I think Mondeaux is an excellent candidate for the practice squad. Buggs hasn't lit it up but his time in one of the best defensive fronts in college football (Alabama), as well as his experience with line coach Karl Dunbar, give him a solid edge.

Outside Linebacker: T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Anthony Chickillo, Olasunkanmi Adeyini, Tuzar Skipper (5)

Adeyini is injured, but not enough to warrant putting him on IR. Skipper, though, has been fantastic, and among the best-performing defensive players in the entire league this pre-season, so you really can't cut him. Both were here last week, too, so nothing has changed. But...

Inside Linebacker: Vince Williams, Devon Bush, Mark Barron, Tyler Matakevich, Ulysees Gilbert III (5)

...last week, one of Baron, Matakevich and Gilbert had to go to get the roster to 53. This week, dropping Johnson from the offensive line gives me enough room to keep all three, because all three deserve to be here.

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

Nothing changes here. I still think Sutton and/or Hilton will be a swing DB, allowing the team to keep the defensive backfield heavy on corners without sacrificing safety depth.

Safety: Sean Davis, Terrell Edmunds, Kameron Kelly, Marcus Allen (4)

Allen has made a push, and his ceiling is higher than Jordan Dangerfield's, so it's Allen who makes the 53. Kelly has been around the ball constantly, and has made some significant plays. If he doesn't make the roster, it will be a huge surprise.

Special Teams: Chris Boswell, Jordan Berry, Cameron Kanaday (3)

Matthew Wright has done a fine job of kicking this pre-season, but Boswell appears to have his confidence back and to be healthy. Wright also doesn't have as strong of a leg, which is critical in a place like Heinz Field. Berry is the punter for another year after Ian Berryman failed to show any degree of consistency, unless a strong candidate is released by another team. And Kanaday has done what every long-snapper should do: never, ever get mentioned during the broadcast.