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2019 NFL Roster Breakdown: Pittsburgh Steelers

Roster Changes


Key additions

WR Donte Moncrief, ILB Mark Barron, CB Steven Nelson


Key losses

RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown, WR Derrius Heyward-Bey, TE Jesse James, ILB L.J. Fort, CB Cody Sensabaugh, S Morgan Burnett


2019 draft class

ILB Devin Bush (1.10), WR Diontae Johnson (3.66), CB Justin Layne (3.83), RB Benny Snell (4.122), TE Zach Gentry (5.141), OLB Sutton Smith (6.175), DL Isaiah Buggs (6.192), ILB Ulysees Gilbert III (6.207), OT Derwin Gray (7.219)


Projected Starters



QB: Ben Roethlisberger
RB: James Conner
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR: James Washington
WR: Donte Moncrief
TE: Vance McDonald
LT: Alejandro Villanueva
LG: Ramon Foster
C: Maurkice Pouncey
RG: David DeCastro
RT: Chukwuma Okorafor



DE: Cameron Heyward
DT: Javon Hargraves
DE: Stephon Tuitt
OLB: T.J. Watt
ILB: Devin Bush
OLB: Bud Dupree
CB: Joe Haden
CB: Justin Layne
CB: Mike Hilton
S: Sean Davis
S: Terrell Edmunds


Team Outlook


Notable depth

QB Mason Rudolph, QB Josh Dobbs, RB Jaylen Samuels, RB Benny Snell, FB Roosevelt Nix, WR Diontae Johnson, WR Eli Rogers, WR Ryan Switzer, TE Xavier Grimble, TE Zach Gentry, OT Matt Feiler, OT Jerald Hawkins, DE Tyson Alualu, DE Isaiah Buggs, DT Daniel McCullers, OLB Anthony Chickillo, OLB Sutton Smith, ILB Vince Williams, ILB Mark Barron, ILB Tyler Matakevich, CB Artie Burns, CB Steven Nelson, CB Cameron Sutton, S Marcus Allen


Biggest strength: Offensive line

Le’Veon Bell and James Conner are special talents that can create more on their own, but the reason we haven’t seen the Steelers struggle to get production out of other running backs is because of how dominant their offensive line is. Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro have combined for 13 Pro Bowl appearances, and I think 2018 third-round pick Chukwuma Okorafor should be ready to win the starting job at right tackle after the team moved on from Marcus Gilbert. In my opinion, the Pittsburgh offensive line is one of the best overall units in football.


Biggest weakness: Safety

Depth can be improved for some positions, but in general, it’s difficult to find a glaring weakness on the roster general manager Kevin Colbert has assembled. That said, the Steelers will be relying on a big leap from last year’s No. 28 overall pick Terrell Edmunds on the backend, so we’ll see if he can live up to expectations alongside Sean Davis. Also, Marcus Allen will look to carve out a role after missing most of his rookie year due to injury.


Position battle to watch: Cornerback

I would think that rookie corner Justin Layne—who was a top-20 overall prospect for me—will win the starting job that’s up for grabs with Joe Haden and Mike Hilton locked in as starters, but perhaps free-agent signing Steven Nelson is able to hold off the Michigan State product, or maybe even Artie Burns can finally reach his potential. The Steelers are probably hoping Layne plays well enough in camp to earn the job, as he has the size/athleticism to match up with the bigger receivers in the AFC (A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, etc.).


One more thought

Trading away one of the greatest receivers of all-time shouldn’t be something a team is able to easily overcome, but I truly believe the Steelers are better off with Antonio Brown gone. For all the numbers he put up, Pittsburgh underachieved with AB on the roster, and JuJu Smith-Schsuter (22), James Washington (23), and third-round pick Diontae Johnson (22) should be a dangerous trio for several years if the latter two live up to expectations.


Early over/under: 9 wins (via CBS Sports)

Over. Not only did the Steelers get rid of the drama in the locker room, but they also added two potential impact players on defense with Devin Bush and Justin Layne. Even against what looks like a fairly difficult schedule, I think this is an easy choice.


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