“Way Too Early” Steelers 2024 53-man roster prediction

With the major portion of free agency and the NFL Draft now in the rearview mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers season moves into a quiet period of offseason workouts before the team convenes in Latrobe, Pennsylvania for training camp in late July.

While there may be a few more additions or subtractions to the team’s current 90-player roster, the group coming to Saint Vincent’s College for camp is largely set. That group will eventually be whittled down to 53 players.

Much like trying to predict who gets selected by the Steelers in the NFL Draft, we can make an educated guess on which players will be retained during that cut down from 90 to 53 players to form the first official 2024 regular-season roster. Here are my predictions on who will make the cut, including a few surprise players who might have a shot at making the team.

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Quarterbacks (3)

Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, John Rhys Plumlee

The bottom of the roster may have a surprise, all depending. Kyle Allen will have the edge over Plumlee due to NFL starting experience, but it’s Plumlee’s athleticism that will see him make the team over Allen and give the Steelers a chance to mimic other AFC North quarterbacks on scout team with Plumlee’s skills.

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Running Backs (3)

Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Daijun Edwards

Another undrafted rookie, this time from Georgia, will have a shot at making the 53-man roster as Edwards finds a spot at a position that wasn’t addressed otherwise in free agency or the draft. With the Steelers passing on Harris’ fifth-year option, they may redshirt Edwards as competition looking ahead to 2025. (Plus they have traditionally used running backs as kick returners and could have Edwards play special teams on coverage units too.)

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Wide Receivers (6)

George Pickens, Calvin Austin III, Van Jefferson, Roman Wilson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Denzel Mims

Patterson is strictly a special teams player, while Wilson and Austin are still inexperienced in the NFL, paving the way for Jefferson and Mims to crack the 53. Someone will also have to replace Myles Boykin on special teams, which means Mims or Jefferson will stick to the roster in that capacity.

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Tight Ends (4)

Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Connor Heyward, MyCole Pruitt

With offensive coordinator Arthur Smith using more multiple tight end sets, the team signed one of his mainstays at the position in free agency. This works out in Pruitt’s favor, as Heyward is a hybrid fullback and tight end: since he’s smaller, Pruitt should still find a role as a blocker and special teams player.

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Offensive Linemen (8)

Zach Frazier, James Daniels, Isaac Seumalo, Broderick Jones, Dan Moore Jr., Nate Herbig, Troy Fautanu, Mason McCormick

One of the more difficult positions to lock down, the Steelers will likely part ways with Moore if a backup tackle emerges in camp. Watch out for Dylan Cook in that role, while Spencer Anderson could make an argument for them to keep nine linemen total.

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Defensive Linemen (7)

Cameron Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Montravius Adams, Logan Lee

This group is fairly cut and dry with returning starters and backups, plus the rookie Lee all making the squad. Breiden Fehoko is the odd man out.

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Linebackers (8)

T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Nick Herbig, Patrick Queen, Elandon Roberts, Cole Holcomb, Payton Willis, Mark Robinson

The outside linebacker depth is Herbig and Herbig only, which may lead to a shift in this initial group. Watch for Holcomb’s recovery and Robinson’s development: the team may move one of the two to make room for another backup pass rusher, though with recent injuries on the interior, it’s plausible they return more than the usual four inside linebackers.

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Cornerbacks (5)

Joey Porter Jr., Donte Jackson, Cory Trice Jr., Darius Rush, Beanie Bishop Jr.

Another group that’s thin to start offseason workouts, Omar Khan has to add veteran depth to this group. Bishop has the inside track on winning the slot corner job while someone else needs to replace James Pierre‘s special teams snaps. That should be Trice or Rush, but by September may not be both.

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Safeties (6)

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, DeShon Elliott, Miles Killebrew, Trenton Thompson, Ryan Watts

As with the cornerbacks, the safety room is too heavy at the moment. However, with the injuries sustained here last season, the bottom half of the group (Thompson, Watts) will be fighting for a roster spot. Both may make it early on, but another roster need could bump one, or both, from the 53.

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Specialists (3)

Chris Boswell, Cameron Johnston, Christian Kuntz

Boswell is the definition of having a safe spot while the Steelers added a new punter in Johnston who should be around for several seasons. Their competition in camp will be putting stuff on tape. Nothing more.

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Final Thoughts

There are a few areas of fluctuation here. One of the main thoughts I had putting this roster together versus that of the 2023 prediction is the injuries that were sustained during last season at inside linebacker and safety. Also, the league’s new kickoff rules may require more bodies that come from groups such as defensive backs and wide receivers on coverage units.

The biggest offseason stories will likely be at the running back position and offensive tackle with Najee Harris (final year of contract) and Dan Moore Jr (competing to start against Jones and Fautanu.) That could see some more variation depending on trades as the Steelers continue to seek out a playmaker at the wide receiver position to place opposite of George Pickens.

Full List (53)

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

Steelers Roster Prediction

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