Predicting the roles of the Steelers 2021 NFL draft class

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The Pittsburgh Steelers had nine picks in the 2021 NFL draft. Due to the makeup of the current roster, several of these rookies are going to need to be ready to get in the mix early and contribute. Here are our predictions for the roles of the Steelers rookies in 2021.

RB Najee Harris

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what the depth chart might say in preseason, Najee Harris is going to be the starting running back. And as we all know with head coach Mike Tomlin, the starting running backs for Pittsburgh is the bell cow.

TE Pat Freiermuth

(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Freiermuth will be the team's backup tight end behind Eric Ebron. If new offensive coordinator Matt Canada uses more two-tight end sets, Freeiermuth could see a solid number of snaps but 2022 will be the year for Freiermuth to start if they don't bring Ebron back.

G Kendrick Green

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Kendrick Green will be the starting center by the time Week One comes around. Green wasn't drafted to be a backup and the center position is the weakest at offensive line.

OT Dan Moore Jr.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Moore could develop into a starting tackle but for now his role will be as the primary backup offensive tackle behind Zach Banner and Chuks Okorafor.

LB Buddy Johnson

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton

For 2021, Johnson is best served as an ace on special teams and rotational inside linebacker, especially on passing downs. By 2022 I expect Johnson to be starting next to Devin Bush but as much as I want to see Johnson on the field in 2021 he's probably a year away.

DL Isaiahh Loudermilk

(AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

The Steelers have a ton of defensive linemen to sort through during training camp and the preseason and Isaiahh Loudermilk is going to have plenty of competition. Short of a miraculous jump this summer, Loudermilk is going to be relegated to a reserve role behind other veterans and likely inactive for much of the season.

EDGE Quincy Roche

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Quincy Roche was a sixth-round pick but he's going to get thrown into the mix in a hurry. The Steelers don't have much in the way of talent backing up T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith so we predict Roche's role as a rookie will be the team's top reserve edge rusher.

DB Tre Norwood

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

For this season, the best thing Norwood can do to make the 53-man roster is to star on special teams. Any impact he will have on defense would be due to an injury situation that requires it.

P Pressley Harvin III

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Much like Kendrick Green, Pressley Harvin has a strong chance to win his starting spot and we predict he will. Harvin has a big leg and is consistent and Jordan Berry has been anything but.

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