Joe Kuzma’s 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster prediction

Following a dynamic preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s once again time to have a look at the Steelers roster, and which players should make the cut when the team trims down to 53 players in the coming weeks.

Of course, with two more preseason games still on deck, there’s still time for a few of the bubble players to change their fate. That’s why I made a few changes from my previous roster prediction back in June.

Let’s have a look!

Embed from Getty Images

Quarterbacks (3)

Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph

The Steelers have always been one of the teams in the NFL to roster three quarterbacks. With rules that allow for a third “emergency” QB to be dressed on game days in 2023, this position will look the same as last year, with the exception of how they are listed on the depth chart.

Embed from Getty Images

Running Backs (3)

Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr.

In my last prediction list, I posed the question:

Connor Heyward will make the team, the question is how will he be listed as far as his position?

Since the start of training camp, I would now realign Heyward to the tight ends group instead. I also noted:

The Steelers have a precedent of keeping their RB3 on the practice squad (Fitzgerald Toussaint, Trey Edmunds) and will likely do the same this season with Anthony McFarland missing the 53-man cut.

McFarland is still a bubble player to make the team and had a tremendous first preseason game last year. However, he was still trimmed to the practice squad by the Steelers head coach in 2022, so I have him as another bubble player making the team.

Embed from Getty Images

Wide Receivers (5)

Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin

Several things have become apparent since training camp began and preseason games were underway. For one, Gunner Olszewski will be fighting for a roster spot after losing his job as a return specialist last season. Austin is now listed on the team’s depth chart as the top returner, with Jordan Byrd taking all of the return duties in last Friday’s preseason game against Tampa.

Miles Boykin offers special teams ability in coverage units which keeps him ahead of others such as Cody White and Hakeem Butler for a spot on the roster.

Embed from Getty Images

Tight Ends (4)

Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward

Connor Heyward, noted above, is also listed as a tight end and fullback.

If it wasn’t for Freiermuth’s past concussion history, I would feel that Gentry’s spot could be in jeopardy due to the rise of Darnell Washington.

Embed from Getty Images

Offensive Linemen (9)

Mason Cole, James Daniels, Chukwuma Okorafor, Isaac Seumalo, Broderick Jones, Dan Moore Jr., Nate Herbig, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green

Previously, I had felt that Kendrick Green would be hard-pressed to make this roster. I still feel he’s a question mark, as the Steelers worked him out successfully as a fullback. However, he cannot make the team as a fullback alone, and was seen taking backup snaps at center. Unfortunately, those plays were marred with a bad snap and a holding penalty, which leaves him on the bubble.

I question whether or not the team will attempt to trade Kevin Dotson, last year’s starter, with Seumalo and Herbig in place now, plus Green’s emerging versatility.

Embed from Getty Images

Defensive Linemen (7)

Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, DeMarvin Leal, Keeanu Benton, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Armon Watts, Montravius Adams

My biggest coinflip on the most-stacked position on the Steelers roster is whether or not the team sticks with Adams, who was last year’s starting nose tackle, over other veterans such as Watts and Breidan Fehoko (who joined the team during free agency.)

I’ve changed my mind on giving the nod to Adams, as he’s the incumbent. Still, the team didn’t bring in at least three viable candidates to replace Adams without attempting to upgrade the position.

Embed from Getty Images

Linebackers (9)

T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Markus Golden, Nick Herbig, Kwon Alexander, Mark RobinsonNick Kwiatkoski

The linebackers generally number between eight and ten carried on the roster at any given time. Most of the reserve backers will wind up playing special teams, which is where Kwiatkoski makes the team as a bubble player. (He has only played special teams for his last two NFL seasons.)

The signing of Kwon Alexander makes Tanner Muse expendable. Rookie Nick Herbig is lighting up the preseason, but as an outside linebacker, the team will retain four total.

Embed from Getty Images

Cornerbacks (5)

Patrick Peterson, Joey Porter Jr., Levi Wallace, Chandon Sullivan, James Pierre

With Cory Trice’s season-ending injury the Steelers can safely roster only five cornerbacks. They could be on the hunt for a veteran cut from another roster in order to add to this group, as it leaves James Pierre as the primary backup to starters Peterson, Porter, and split-starter Wallace.

Embed from Getty Images

Safeties (5)

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu NealMiles Killebrew, Tre Norwood

There are no major changes to this group, which is also full of experience.

Elijah Riley and Kenny Robinson, who both received ample playing time in training camp, should land comfortably on the team’s practice squad.

Embed from Getty Images

Specialists (3)

Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, Christian Kuntz

Once again, no changes here! Carry on!

Embed from Getty Images

Full List (53)

Here’s the remaining names compiled from the lists above and how the full 53-man roster shakes out.

Steelers Preseason Roster Prediction 2023

Suggested articles from our sponsors