Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Best Case Scenario for Pittsburgh Steelers O-Line


 

So far for the Pittsburgh Steelers, this has been a pretty quiet offseason so far, player-wise. Although it is sounding like the Steelers are going to be more active in free agency this year, those should start coming pretty soon once free agency opens up. Besides the signing of Jason Worilds to a multi-year contract and drafting a cornerback in the first round, the one thing I am looking forward to is seeing whether the Steelers bring back Fernando Velasco and Cody Wallace. With the hiring of Mike Munchak and return of Maurkice Pouncey, the starters are looking pretty set in place, but bringing back the two free agents (Velasco and Wallace) will definitely give the O-line some great depth and turn the unit into a force.

Center

I think it’s obvious that Maurkice Pouncey will regain his position going into the offseason, no matter how much more recovery he has to do. I know many are wanting Pouncey to move to guard and Velasco to center because of his play in place of Pouncey, but I think that’s ridiculous. Why would you move an All Pro center to guard just because his replacement during an injury played good? You have to remember that Pouncey established himself as one of the best centers in the game in just his first 3 seasons. Now he has a hall of fame offensive line coach. Although Munchak is expected to get DeCastro going as an All Pro guard and get the young tackles playing so every “mock draft expert” won’t have the Steelers picking tackle in the first round, I think he can help Pouncey become even better. Although I don’t think it will happen this year, the Steelers need to focus on extending him. He is a young player whose rookie contract is expiring soon and it would be foolish for him to walk away. He is the leader of the o-line and should be for many years to come, hopefully falling in line as the next great center for the Steelers.

In order for the center position to be in really good hands, the Steelers need to bring back Fernando Velasco. I do admire him stepping up rather quickly into the o-line last year, but not enough to have him be a full time starter. If it came down to it, he can do the job, but I’m not saying get rid of Ramon Foster, move Pouncey to guard, and Velasco to center. Having him as an insurance plan would definitely be in the Steelers best interest. After all the linemen that seem to constantly go down, we will at least not have to worry about the center position.

Guard

Did anyone else sleep really good when the Steelers selected David DeCastro in the first round of the 2012 draft? Wasn’t that just a moment of pure happiness and knowing that there is a possibility of the line actually protecting Big Ben? DeCastro made his force felt this season. He really showed why Steeler Nation is excited about the Steelers drafting the former Stanford guard, and now he has Mike Munchak working with him. No one will benefit more with the hiring of Munchak than DeCastro. He will show him all the tricks in the book and will certainly bring the best out of the kid. It’s a really smart move by the Steelers. Ramon Foster will benefit too, but I think Foster has hit his ceiling as a guard and will never be a Pro Bowl guard.  I think this may be his last season in Steel Town, and maybe a first or second round pick in the 2015 draft could be spent on his replacement.

The backup position will probably fall to Cody Wallace. He did an admirable job replacing Velasco last season and can come back for the league minimum. It would be wise to bring him back because he is still young and could also benefit with position flexibility and working under Munchak for a couple seasons. Maybe he could earn himself a payday if he starts a couple games at guard and has good showings.

Tackle

Well, we know who will be in camp and which ones will make the roster, just not who will be starting. My guess is Gilbert starts camp on the right and Beachum starts on the left. I truly believe Beachum can and will be the future at the left tackle position. Again being a player that can benefit with the hiring of Munchak. Gilbert and Adams will most likely battle for the right tackle spot, and this may be the year that Gilbert breaks out. He played very well the second half of the season and could be due for a modest extension. That leaves Adams as the backup, and his play as a backup last season opened some eyes. I wouldn’t worry with Adams as the backup as he will have another season to learn and grow as a player, trying to find where he fits on the line.

Tell me what you think Steeler Nation by leaving a comment!

Follow me on Twitter: combs_14

Tags: David DeCastro Kelvin Beachum Maurkice Pouncey Mike Munchak Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Milliken Steeler

    I agree except, I believe Adams is the better R/T and has more upside. They made a mistake trying him at L/T especially the way he played at R/T.

    Gilbert is inconsistent, came into camp way out of shape despite coming off an 8-8 season and I think he needs to learn how to be a professional or move on.

    I’m hoping we move on from him in 2015 to be honest. He is to high of a pick to be a backup

    • [email protected]

      Milliken, could not agree more on Adams. RT being a primarily run blocking position (not to mention working against a typicall less capable pass rusher on that side), I think Adams excelled there before he was put out of position (why does Tomlin do that? Maybe because of lack of talent at the position to which the player is moved?) and Gilbert has never really impressed that much……. The other point to consider – Nick Embernante is returning from injury and he was both position flexible and NASTY before he went down last year. So, I think that keeping Velasco and Wallace, along with Embernante, would really solidify our depth behind the starters. Draft one guy late in the draft for depth and we should be set.

      • William Cross

        “Why does Tomlin do that?” Because he’s the head coach? I mean of course he shoud take suggestions from fans on message boards, but what can you do?

      • Levi Combs

        I didn’t forget about embernate, I just think wallace and velasco are proven and will provide more stability as backups. He could challenge one of the two for the guard spot though.

    • Levi Combs

      I agree that it was a mistake trying him on the left side. I personally don’t know why they didn’t know Gilbert on the left side. We do agree that beachum starts on the left, but there will be a battle for the right spot. Regarding your comment on moving on from him in 2015, the draft pick doesn’t matter, if he proves to be valuable depth and can come back cheap, why not keep him?

      • Milliken Steeler

        If he at least becomes a true professional and the price is right as a back up, maybe I guess.

        I just think if he keeps up with his sub par work ethic, Munchak will expose him and make suggestions to management about him. I see Mike as a no nonsense, get it done HOF’er with a get it done attitude, Gilbert will learn to be a pro or I think he might be gone next year.

  • bk

    Still not sold on Pouncey… even when healthy I think he is below average as a center… try him at guard then see about extending him. There are some good centers in this draft that may be had in the 4th rd… Keep Velasco or Wallace, Beachum and Gilbert/Adams, Pouncey Decastro… a rookie Center and Foster for depth…

    • Levi Combs

      I don’t think we have the luxury to draft a center high enough to start immediately. I disagree with you concerning pouncey. I think he is great and truly hope he can get a long term deal worked out before his contract expires. Keeping beachum foster pouncey dc and Gilbert with Adams Wallace and velasco as backups will be best unit they can possibly have without taking someone in the first 3 rounds of the draft or picking up a high profile free agent, and I don’t see either happening. Don’t expect any new starters on the line.

      • bk

        A great center doesn’t get pushed into the backfield as often as Pouncey..

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    The only people that think Pouncey is an all pro are people that wake up every morning and take a pill, to combat stupidity.

    • Levi Combs

      You mean the people that study and analyze football for a living that voted pouncey as an all pro his first three seasons in the league?? How much more do you want from the guy

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I think anyone who thinks a small weak guard like Beachum can survive at left tackle is crazy. You cannot invest 100 million dollars in a franchise quarterback and then protect his blind side with a guard. This will cost the Steelers. Beachum will get exposed for what he is, an NFL backup.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    I can’t believe Steeler’s fans find fault with Pouncey but anoit Beachum a starter. The only think Beachum has done is perform better than Mike Adams. Steeler nation is acting as if Beachum plays to the level of a younf Max Starks, John Jackson, Wayne Gandy, or Marvel Smith. Seriously, if Beachum got cut what would be his value? Who would sign him as a starting left tackle and bypass a replacement in draft. No playoff team! Wake up Nation. We need a left tackle.

  • Bill Phillips

    Pouncy may be the best little guy at center but that little ankle cost us possible SB win along with Sabers little foot would prefer a giant malwer like the cowboys had/have or Chargers no one is afraid of Mr Pouncy.