Training camp is over, the preseason games are over, and now it comes down to one more process before the beginning of the regular season, and it is always a difficult one.
With the roster cutdown deadline looming, we decided to predict the Steelers 53-man roster and practice squad.
One thing to note is that this year's team is as deep as it has ever been, making this process difficult. So as they say in Steelers Nation, "here we go!"
Wide Receivers (6) - Calvin Austin III, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Allen Robinson II, Miles Boykin, and Gunner Olszewski
In this case, we decided that with all the weapons this team has, they are likely to keep six receivers. The big debate was with Boykin, but he kept him due to his heavy contributions on special teams.
Running backs (3) - Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, and Anthony McFarland Jr.
This was perhaps the easiest decision to make; McFarland Jr. established himself as the team's RB 3 during training camp. Xazavian Valladay is intriguing enough that we believe he will be added to the practice squad.
Offensive Line (9) - Dan Moore Jr., Chukwuma Okorafor, Isaac Seumalo, Kevin Dotson, Nate Herbig, Mason Cole, James Daniels, Broderick Jones*, and Spencer Anderson*
The competition at the offensive line was one of the more intense ones this offseason. Dylan Cook looked impressive, but he believes that he is better suited for the practice squad. Kendrick Green is unfortunately not good enough to be the type of backup center they need; hence, we left him off the list.
Tight Ends (4) - Connor Heyward, Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington*, and Zach Gentry
Rodney Williams just missed the cut, but we believe he will find a place on the team's practice squad.
Quarterback (3) - Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, and Mason Rudolph.
Pickett is the undisputed leader of the team and the starting quarterback. The only real debate we had was about Rudolph, who underperformed in this preseason game. Nonetheless, Tanner Morgan is not even close to being roster-ready.
Defensive Line (6) - Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi, DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Keeanu Benton*, Armon Watts, and Breiden Fehoko
Of all the position groups, this was arguably the deepest. The biggest change here is Watts taking the last spot over veteran Montravius Adams. Controversial decision? Yes.
Outside Linebackers (4) - T.J. Watt, Nick Herbig, Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden
This group is the most talented on the roster. Each player at this position made a strong case for the roster. David Perales and Toby Ndukwe did enough to find a spot on the practice squad.
Inside linebackers (4) - Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Mark Robinson, and Kwon Alexander.
This is a dynamic, hard-hitting group that should be a major upgrade from last season. Nick Kwiatkoski just missed the cut in this case.
Defensive backs (11) - Patrick Peterson, Joey Porter Jr., Chandon Sullivan, Levi Wallace, James Pierre, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Elijah Riley, Tre Norwood, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew, and Keanu Neal
For all we know, the Steelers are not likely to carry this many defensive backs. Despite poor showings in the preseason games, Pierre makes the cut, but don't be surprised if he does not make the roster.
Specialists (3) - Pressley Harvin III, Chris Boswell and Christian Kuntz
QB Tanner Morgan
WR Dez Fitzpatrick
WR Dan Chisena
C Kendrick Green
OL Dylan Cook
RB Xazavian Valladay
CB Madre Harper
S Kenny Robinson Jr.
TE Rodney Williams
DT Jonathan Marshall
LB David Perales
LB Toby Ndukwe