Steelers Unveil 53-Man Roster: Features Rookie UDFA


Jamie Sabau/Getty Images Austin Mack #11 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is tackled by James Pierre #23 and Quran Hafiz #9 of the Florida Atlantic Owls on August 31, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio.

The Pittsburgh Steelers reached the mandatory 53-man roster limit on Saturday afternoon by making a slew of roster cuts. The most notable cuts were: wide receiver Ryan Switzer, who recently made headlines by proclaiming he’d be the next Julian Edelman; former first-round quarterback Paxton Lynch, who was unable to beat out Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges for the third-string QB job; and seven-year veteran nose tackle Daniel McCullers, who surprised everyone by surviving six years with the Steelers despite his unfailingly modest production.

Cornerback James Pierre

Perhaps the single most remarkable name on the list of players who made the initial 53-man roster is rookie undrafted free agent cornerback James Pierre, who played his college football at Florida Atlantic. Pierre may not be a name that is familiar to casual fans, but close observers were already aware that he had an excellent chance of making the opening day roster, even though cornerback is one of the strongest areas of the team. It doesn’t hurt that at six-foot-two, Pierre is unusually tall for a cornerback.

During his last season at Florida Atlantic Pierre played in 13 games and made 43 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss. He also recorded three interceptions and had four passes defensed.

Center J.C. Hassenauer

The next most notable player to make the 53-man roster is center J.C. Hassenauer, who benefits from a recent rule change that will allow teams to dress 48 players on game day as opposed to the 46 that were allowed last year. But to do that, the team must dress eight offensive linemen, which the Steelers are likely to do, so they can dress a dedicated backup center like Hassenauer.

Hassenauer entered the league as an undrafted free agent signee of the Atlanta Falcons after the 2018 NFL Draft. The University of Alabama product was on Pittsburgh’s practice squad last year and was activated for the season finale against the Baltimore Ravens, when starting center Maurkice Pouncey was out with a meniscus injury.

Following is Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster, as of the night of Saturday September 5.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 53-Man Roster

Quarterbacks (3): Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges
Running Backs (5): James Conner, Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland Jr. (R), Jaylen Samuels, Derek Watt (fullback)
Wide Receivers (5): JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Chase Claypool (R), Ray-Ray McCloud
Tight Ends (3): Vance McDonald, Eric Ebron, Zach Gentry
Offensive Tackles (3): Alejandro Villanueva, Chuks Okorafor, Zach Banner
Offensive Guards (3): David DeCastro, Matt Feiler, Kevin Dotson (R)
Centers (3): Maurkice Pouncey, Stefen Wisniewski, J.C. Hassenauer
Defensive Ends (4): Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Chris Wormley, Isaiah Buggs
Defensive Tackles (2): Tyson Alualu, Carlos Davis
Outside Linebackers (4): TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, Alex Highsmith (R), Ola Adeniyi
Inside Linebackers (4): Devin Bush, Vince Williams, Ulysees Gilbert III, Robert Spillane
Cornerbacks (6): Joe Haden, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cam Sutton, Justin Layne, James Pierre (UDFA – R)
Safeties (5): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Curtis Riley, Jordan Dangerfield, Marcus Allen
Placekicker/Punter (2): Chris Boswell, Jordan Berry
Long Snapper (1): Kameron Canaday

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