The Steelers have some veterans who are UFA’s and still need to be signed. After April 1st, I figured whoever wasn’t signed wouldn’t be until after the draft. Those who are left are considered back ups, oh excuse me, starters in waiting. With the Steelers having a habit of not starting many of their first year players, many of them fall to the roll of backup. And, as Kevin Colbert alluded to during Monday’s pre-draft conference, if the draft doesn’t go well for the Steelers with regards to the offensive and defensive lines, then a few friendly faces will still probably have jobs come summer time.
Colbert spoke specifically about Max Starks and Casey Hampton during that presser on Monday. Most of Steeler Nation figured that Casey Hampton’s fate was sealed after the Steelers signed Steve McLendon to a three year extension following his visit to Green Bay. But with no logical backup other than 2nd year (and really still a rookie) man Alameda Ta’amu, the Steelers will need either a draft pick or re-sign Hampton. I think the Steelers will go after a D-lineman between rounds 3-5. Whether they target a NT is yet to be scene, and I would be surprised if they did. But, will the Steelers have a large enough carrot for Hampton – literally and figuratively speaking. At the end of the season, Hampton felt like he had a bunch of good football left in him. Who knows what that translates into dollars and cents’wise for the Steelers.
Max Starks WILL be signed. The Steelers more than likely won’t draft an offensive lineman this season after going two in a row last season. David DeCastro will essentially be replaying his rookie season, but signs looked good when he came back from his knee injury near the end of the 2012 campaign. Mike Adams had a rather up and down season in 2012 at left tackle. It’s obvious that his footwork and technique need to improve if he wants to block for Big Ben’s blindside. Marcus Gilbert can share time with Adams at left tackle, but as fellow staff writer Nick Kelly pointed out in his break down of these two tackles, Gilbert is really built for the right side. The Steelers won’t go after another LT prospect in the draft. So, until Adams can truly prove himself to be a effective left tackle, the Steelers will need a trustworthy mentor and backup. The question is ‘When?’ Will Big Ben need to wear another #78 jersey during mini-camps until the big man is signed? Or, will the Steelers realize that the charade is unnecessary this year and sign Starks so that he can actually be fully prepared by participating in workouts and camp?
What say you Steeler Nation? Do the Steelers sign Hampton or Starks or both?