NFL Training Camp 2021: 5 Pittsburgh Steelers players on the roster bubble heading into training camp


The Pittsburgh Steelers have been in the news more than usual this offseason.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s future has been a constant debate. Wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster surprised everyone by taking less money to return to the Steelers on a one-year deal. Future Hall of Fame offensive guard David DeCastro was cut from the roster and the team drafted a running back in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft when many expected them to pick a quarterback.

As teams begin training camp, there are some players who are going into unsure if they will still be with the team come Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. Here are five players that are on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster bubble.


Five Pittsburgh Steelers on the roster bubble for 2021

#1 – Joshua Dobbs, QB

Mason Rudolph is the current backup quarterback and is poised to be the future starter after signing an extension this offseason. Dwayne Haskins will take the final quarterback spot on the roster, leaving Josh Dobbs as the odd man out.

For Dobbs, his best bet is to leave Pittsburgh and find a team where he can compete for the backup spot. He’s a career backup with experience on Pittsburgh’s offense but hasn’t shown anything impressive in his past.

#2 – Jaylen Samuels, RB

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted RB Najee Harris in the first round after letting James Conner leave as a free agent. The former Alabama running back will be the team’s primary threat on the ground, while Anthony McFarland will be his backup. The team also signed Kalen Ballage, who could be impactful in the ground game.


That leaves Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell Jr. to battle it out for one spot. Samuels’ strength is his receiving ability out of the backfield, but that’s about it. Benny Snell Jr. is seemingly in the hot seat but has more potential than Samuels and will likely win the battle between the two.

#3 – J.C. Hassenauer, C

J.C. Hassenauer played in 15 games but started just four during the 2020 season. Maurkice Pouncey retired after Pittsburgh’s loss to the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs and Hassenauer was the presumed starter this season.

But the Steelers picked Kendrick Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft and he’ll likely take over the starting role. B.J. Finney’s experience playing every position on the O-line gives him the edge over Hassenauer and will probably be retained.


#4 – Isaiah Buggs, DE

Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers
Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers

Isaiah Buggs hasn’t reached his potential as a pass-rusher. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2019 and the Steelers were hoping he could be a playmaker on the line.

Chris Wormley and Tyson Alualu will battle it out for the starting nose tackle job. Carlos Davis, Henry Mondeaux and Isaiahh Loudermilk serve as capable depth players.

#5 – Ulysses Gilbert lll, LB

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Ulysses Gilbert lll in 2019, hoping he would pair well with Devin Bush. But two years into his NFL career, he has managed only ten total sacks and has been injury-prone.


The Steelers brought back Vince Williams and then drafted Buddy Johnson to shore up their linebacker unit. Robert Spillane and Marcus Allen will be the backups, pushing Gilbert further down the pecking order.

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