Fortunatly, we have the answers.
From the team’s position battle at quarterback and right tackle to figuring out who will fill Antonio Brown’s vacant spot on the depth chart, we’ll provide our inside knowledge and opinion on each of the team’s position battles on a weekly basis while evaluating each important change made on Pittsburgh’s preseason depth chart.
Check below for an updated Steelers depth chart before each Pittsburgh preseason game. We’re also including our own predictions on the team’s biggest position battles leading up to the Steelers’ next preseason game.
Note: The Steelers’ first preseason depth chart, seen below, typically isn’t the most accurate when it comes to who is winning certain position battles. Pittsburgh traditionally places the veterans ahead of the younger players if the position battle is competitive enough. While it’s still good to see who is where at this point in the process, fans should put more of their focus on our breakdowns (below the depth charts) to get a more accurate look at what is actually transpiring when it comes to Pittsburgh’s key position battles.
As far as the starting lineup, the big battle will come down to Matt Feiler and Chukwuma Okorafor at right tackle. Pittsburgh’s No. 2 receiver position, currently wide open, will come down to Donte Moncrief, James Washington and rookie Diontae Johnson. Benny Snell Jr. should make a run at becoming Pittsburgh’s No. 2 running back, while fellow rookie Zach Gentry is trying to earn a spot on the 53-man roster behind Vance McDonald and Xavier Grimble.
The third biggest position battle is between Dobbs and Rudolph for the job as Pittsburgh’s No. 2 quarterback. Dobbs, the Steelers’ No. 2 quarterback last season,against the Buccaneers.
As we currently stand: Washington is my current pick to ultimately become Pittsburgh’s No. 2 receiver, with Moncreif coming in a close second. Johnson, who was off to a strong start to camp before sustaining an injury, will definitely make his case during the preseason. Switzer is a lock to make the 53, while Rogers will most likely crack the 53 unless Spencer make it impossible for the Steelers to cut him.
Samuels will hold off Snell as Pittsburgh’s No. 2 running back coming out of the preseason, but fans should expect to see plenty of Snell (and possibly see him switch places with Samuels at some point this season) in 2019. While Rudolph — based on how he’s looked in camp so far — should unseat Dobbs as Pittsburgh’s No. 2, Dobbs is known for being a better gameday performer than practice player, a fact that makes the 2019 preseason truly interesting.
Feiler — barring injury or horrific play during the preseason — will be Pittsburgh’s starting right tackle, while Okorafor will be the Steelers’ top swing tackle.
The only question mark regarding the defensive line is whether or not Isaiah Buggs can avoid being the second rookie defensive end out of Alabama to fail to make the 53-man roster in as many years. The real position battle is at left inside linebacker between Mark Barron and Devin Bush. Tyler Matakevich, a four-year pro and career backup, will have hold off rookie Ulysees Gilbert III during the preseason.
Another interesting position battle to watch is at right outside linebacker, as Bud Dupree — a former first round pick entering his final year of his contract — looks to hold off Ola Adeniyi, a former undrafted rookie who made the 53 last season before sustaining a season-ending injury just in Pittsburgh’s preseason finale. Adniyi, who has been one of the talks of Pittsburgh’s training camp, could unseat Dupree as a starter with a strong preseason.
The three biggest questions regarding the cornerbacks center on Cam Sutton, Justin Layne and Artie Burns. Sutton, a third year pro, is trying to have a bigger role in Pittsburgh’s defense this season after receiving just two stars during his first two seasons. Burns, a former first-round pick who endured a demotion last season, is just trying to make the 53 in his final year under contract.
As we currently stand: Buggs, who led Alabama with 9.5 sacks last season, will avoid former ‘Bama teammate Joshua Frazier’s fate and make the 53. Matakevich will find a way to hold off Gilbert, who will still make the 53 assuming he plays up to his potential during the preseason. Barron will start Week 1 but will rotate series/situations with Bush before the rookie ultimately takes over as the team’s new starting LILB around the midway point in the season. Layne and Sutton is too close to call, so I’ll go with the veteran — Sutton — for now. Burns will make the 53, but I wouldn’t expect much more from him other than spot duty and solid veteran leadership inside Pittsburgh’s cornerback room.
Chris Boswell will split kicking responsibilities with Matthew Wright in Friday’s preseason game. Boswell, following a rocky 2018 season, has come back strong this training camp and will look to carry that momentum into the preseason. Berry, Pittsburgh’s starting punter since the 2015 season, will have to hold off Ian Berryman if he is going to keep his starting job.
Diontae Spencer, a former Canadian Football League star, would strengthen his case to crack the 53-man roster by making some splash plays on special teams.
As we currently stand: Boswell isn’t losing his job and I believe he returns to his former Pro Bowl form. Berry, while I believe that he too will keep his job, has a much tougher fight ahead of him. Spencer shines on special teams while making it hard (impossible?) to keep him off the 53 four weeks from now.