Pittsburgh Steelers Roster Breakdown in 2020
When you look back at who was playing quarterback for Mike Tomlin in 2019, it’s amazing that the Steelers won eight games and nearly made the playoffs.
The return of Big Ben is one reason to get excited about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in 2020, but it’s really just the beginning. The offense addressed their deficiencies in the red zone by targeting reliable pass-catchers, and there’s no doubt we’re looking at one of the in the NFL.
I’ve broken down the Pittsburgh Steelers’ depth chart position by position.
*Names in bold denotes player is a starter
Steelers Quarterback Depth Chart
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Mason Rudolph
- Devlin Hodges
- Paxton Lynch
- J.T. Barrett
We saw what happens to this offense when Ben Roethlisberger isn’t under center, and we can all agree it wasn’t pretty. Nor was it efficient. Thankfully, Big Ben is back and claims that he’s feeling better than ever.
The backup job belongs to Mason Rudolph, while Paxton Lynch and J.T. Barrett are destined for the practice squad.
Steelers Running Back Depth Chart
- James Conner
- Jaylen Samuels
- Benny Snell Jr.
- Anthony McFarland Jr.
It won’t be long until rookie RB Anthony McFarland surges up the Steelers’ RB depth chart, eventually knocking Jaylen Samuels clear out of the picture. While James Conner and Benny Snell Jr. do most of their damage between the tackles, the University of Maryland product possesses electric speed and big-play potential.
At the very least, McFarland will be utilized as a third-down weapon.
Steelers Wide Receiver Depth Chart
- JuJu Smith-Schuster
- James Washington
- Diontae Johnson
- Chase Claypool
- Ryan Switzer
- Deon Cain
- Amara Darboh
- Anthony Johnson
- Quadree Henderson
- Saeed Blacknall
Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert killed two birds with one stone by drafting Chase Claypool in the second round. For starters, Claypool’s intimidating size (6’4”, 238 pounds) is going to keep cornerbacks honest on the outside. Secondly, Chase’s arrival will kick JuJu Smith-Schuster back into the slot where he and Ben can start dominating opposing coverages.
In my opinion, JuJu soaring over 1,100 receiving yards happens to be one of the best NFL player props out there.
Let’s not sleep on James Washington and Diontae Johnson, either. When Roethlisberger decides to air out the long ball, chances are it’ll be headed in the direction of Washington or Johnson.
Steelers Tight End Depth Chart
- Eric Ebron
- Vance McDonald
- Zach Gentry
- Kevin Rader
The bottom line is Vance McDonald wasn’t dependable enough as the Steelers’ “go-to” tight end. Hence, Colbert landed Eric Ebron on a two-year/$12 million deal to immediately come in and exploit linebackers and safeties who are simply overmatched.
Remember, Ebron caught 13 TD passes in 2018 — more than any pass-catcher that season not named Antonio Brown.
Steelers Offensive Line Depth Chart
|Left Tackle||Alejandro Villanueva||Chukwuma Okorafor||Jarron Jones|
|Left Guard||Stefen Wisniewski||Derwin Gray||Kevin Dotson|
|Center||Maurkice Pouncey||J.C. Hassenauer||John Keenoy|
|Right Guard||David DeCastro||Derwin Gray||Kevin Dotson|
|Right Tackle||Matt Feiler||Zach Banner||Christian DiLauro|
The biggest question revolving around the Steelers’ offense in 2020 is the protection scheme up front. Stefen Wisniewski was inked as a replacement for Ramon Foster (retired), and David DeCastro is still one of the top interior OL in football.
On the flip side, bookending the offensive line with Matt Feiler and an aging Alejandro Villanueva isn’t exactly ideal. Hopefully, Kevin Dotson can materialize quickly and will perhaps even take over as the starting left guard.
Steelers Defensive Line Depth Chart
|Defensive End||Defensive Tackle||Defensive Tackle|
|Stephon Tuitt||Chris Wormley||Cameron Heyward|
|Tyson Alualu||Daniel McCullers||Isaiah Buggs|
|Henry Mondeaux||Carlos Davis||Cavon Walker|
Cameron Heyward anchors the trenches in Keith Butler’s 3-4 scheme, which sets the stage for the defenders behind to wreak a whole bunch of havoc.
The Steelers traded for Ravens DL Chris Wormley — a guy whose versatility on the defensive line should do wonders for the rest of this group.
Steelers Linebacker Depth Chart
|OLB||T.J. Watt||Tuzar Skipper||Olasunkanmi Adeniyi|
|ILB||Vince Williams||Ulysees Gilbert III||Robert Spillane|
|ILB||Devin Bush Jr.||Christian Kuntz||John Houston Jr.|
|OLB||Bud Dupree||Alex Highsmith|
A few sentences aren’t enough to give this group the justice they deserve, so I’ll sum this up briefly as best as I can.
Devin Bush burst onto the scene as a rookie, leading the team with 109 tackles. Bud Dupree was a menace, racking up 11.5 sacks (19.5 tackles for loss), Vince Williams is rock-solid in the middle, and the team will have to find ways to get rookie Alex Highsmith onto the field.
However, Highsmith will have to wait his turn behind arguably the most complete defender in the NFL.
Steelers Cornerback Depth Chart
- Joe Haden
- Steven Nelson
- Mike Hilton
- Cameron Sutton
- Justin Layne
- Breon Borders
- Arrion Springs
Joe Haden is a ball hawker, and Steven Nelson is a disciplined cornerback. Coach Tomlin relies on Mike Hilton to cover the slot, but it gets a little scarce after that.
Cameron Sutton is still learning to adjust to NFL speed, while 2019 third-round pick Justin Layne is still waiting to live up to the hype.
Steelers Safety Depth Chart
- Terrell Edmunds
- Minkah Fitzpatrick
- Jordan Dangerfield
- Marcus Allen
- Antoine Brooks Jr.
- Tyree Kinnell
- John Battle
Rounding out the Steelers’ secondary with a couple of all-world safeties, it should be no surprise Pitt is slotted 1st when it comes to my 2020 fantasy football defense rankings.
Terrell Edmunds is a run-stuffing strong safety who tallied 105 tackles a season ago, while Minkah Fitzpatrick was inexplicably traded from Miami amid a Pro Bowl campaign.
The Dolphins’ loss was the Steelers’ gain, as Minkah is widely regarded as one of the best safeties in the NFL.
Steelers Special Teams Depth Chart
|Kicker||Punter||Long Snapper||Holder||Punt Returner||Kick Returner|
|Chris Boswell||Jordan Berry||Kameron Canaday||Jordan Berry||Diontae Johnson||James Washington|
After a forgettable 2018 season in which Chris Boswell struggled mightily, the Steelers kicker bounced back resoundingly in 2019. Heinz Field is one of the hardest stadiums for kickers to maintain consistency in, yet Boswell connected on 29/31 attempts and converted all 28 of his PATs.
Diontae Johnson gives Pittsburgh a more than capable returner, although Jordan Berry was a very average punter last year.
Steelers Roster Analysis
- Grade: A-
Under the assumption that Ben Roethlisberger is as healthy as he says he is and will be playing at somewhere close to an elite level, I’m loving what this organization has in place.
The Steelers stunk on third down and in the red zone, in large part due to Big Ben being out. With that being said, signing Eric Ebron along with drafting Chase Claypool and Anthony McFarland Jr. was just what the doctor ordered.
This may not be the most explosive passing attack that Randy Fichtner has been a part of, but it’s going to be well-balanced and in sync. Nevertheless, what the offense accomplishes will likely pale in comparison to what the defense achieves.
The front seven is as ferocious as any in the league, and the same goes for the back end.
All in all, the Pittsburgh Steelers roster is absolutely loaded.
Betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020
After studying the Steelers’ depth charts, it’s clear that this franchise is in good hands. There’s a nice blend of veteran leadership and hungry young talent, and it could all come together in a big way in 2020.
Unless, of course, you think Big Ben is going to look sluggish and/or this defense is wildly overrated.
Either way, there are plenty of ways to bet on the Steelers before the season begins.