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Steelers 53-Man Roster Projection: Who Goes if Outside Help Is Brought In?

Which running backs do the Pittsburgh Steelers keep? Who won the punting job? What about inside linebacker? Outside linebacker?

The Pittsburgh Steelers will trim their roster down to 53 by Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 4 p.m. ET. So, the question arises, who will make this team in 2021?

After four preseason games and a summer of camps, the Steelers have a plan on who they're keeping, and we have an idea what that plan is.

The Steelers' 53-man roster should look as followed.

Offense

Quarterbacks: 

  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Mason Rudolph
  • Dwayne Haskins

Josh Dobbs had an opportunity to overtake that third spot, but after an injury, those chances are all but gone. It wouldn't be surprising if they only kept two on the active roster.

Running Backs: 

  • Najee Harris
  • Anthony McFarland
  • Benny Snell Jr.
  • Kalen Ballage

Ballage outplayed Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell this summer. However, Snell has potential, and the Steelers know that. Samuels is gone.

Fullback: 

  • Derek Watt

This one's easy.

Wide Receivers: 

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster
  • Diontae Johnson
  • Chase Claypool
  • James Washington
  • Ray-Ray McCloud

Matthew Sexton would've been cool, but the undrafted rookie muffed his chances away on two dropped punts. McCloud is still the guy.

Tight Ends: 

  • Eric Ebron
  • Pat Freiermuth

Zach Gentry is still a work-in-progress and cutting him might be the team's toughest decision. Mike Tomlin hasn't gone into a season without three tight ends since 2008. But there isn't a need to keep him around. The Steelers would love to see him on the practice squad, which shouldn't be difficult for a third-year player who's shown pretty much nothing. 

Offensive Tackles: 

  • Zach Banner
  • Chukwuma Okorafor
  • Dan Moore Jr.
  • John Leglue

Joe Haeg has been the Steelers' worst offensive lineman this summer. It was a bust signing, but all is well - John Leglue is here.

Offensive Guards: 

  • Kevin Dotson
  • Trai Turner
  • B.J. Finney

Rashaad Coward was a fun story at the beginning of the summer, but B.J. Finney knows this team and has the talent.

Centers: 

  • Kendrick Green
  • J.C. Hassenauer

Hassenauer could be a last-minute cut to keep another position deeper, but right now, he's on the team.

Defense

Defensive Tackles: 

  • Cam Heyward
  • Henry Mondeaux
  • Carlos Davis
  • Isaiahh Loudermilk

Isaiahh Loudermilk might be the reason players like Gentry are gone. He hasn't done enough to make you think he plays over Davis or Mondeaux, but he's done too much to risk letting him hit waivers. 

Nose Tackle: 

  • Tyson Alualu

Again, easy.

Defensive Ends: 

  • Stephon Tuitt
  • Chris Wormley

Read More

AGAIN, EASY.

Outside Linebackers: 

  • T.J. Watt
  • Alex Highsmith
  • Melvin Ingram
  • Cassius Marsh
  • Jamir Jones

Quincy Roche has plenty of upside for the future, but Marsh and Jones showed way too much with the first-teams not to make this team. 

Cassius Marsh is also a name to keep an eye on. He's second on the list of cuts if the Steelers decide to look outside the team.

Inside Linebackers: 

  • Devin Bush
  • Joe Schobert
  • Robert Spillane
  • Marcus Allen
  • Buddy Johnson

Ulysees Gilbert III has done nothing to impress this summer. Spillane might be a liability in coverage, but he and Allen are true special teams aces. Johnson has too much potential to waive.

*Allen is third on the list of cuts for outside help.

Cornerbacks: 

  • Joe Haden
  • Cameron Sutton
  • James Pierre
  • Justin Layne
  • Arthur Maulet

While the possibility of signing a cornerback isn't out the window, the Steelers have options they might want to work with. If they sign someone here, they cut Hassenauer.

Safeties: 

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • Terrell Edmunds
  • Tre Norwood
  • Miles Killebrew

Donovan Stiner has put on a pretty good showing this summer, but Norwood is the guy the Steelers want to stick around. Killebrew is their new Jordan Dangerfield on special teams.

Punter: 

  • Pressley Harvin III

The punting competition was red hot all summer, but Harvin has youth. If he's punting as good as Berry has ever punted now, think about what can happen in years to come.

Kicker: 

  • Chris Boswell

Why? Because Sam Sloman wasn't that guy.

Long Snapper: 

  • Kameron Canaday

Tomlin actually said there was a long snapper competition in the final preseason game. Canaday didn't play because of an illness, but he's not going anywhere. 

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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