Steelers O-line: Looking to 2015
Today’s stars at the NFL Combine are the offensive linemen. So, I’ll take a closer look at how the Steelers’ offensive line will look in 2015.
The Steelers‘ top six offensive lineman can be broken up into three distinct groups: high pedigree, pro bowl-caliber starters; over-achievers; and needs improvement.
Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro have proven worthy of their selection spots in the first round of the NFL Draft. Pouncey has already made multiple pro bowls, and it is a matter of time for DeCastro.
Ramon Foster and Kelvin Beachum have had a high level of success as starters, despite their lack of suitors out of college (Foster went undrafted, while Beachum was picked up in the seventh round). Foster is the eldest of the group and a locker room leader; that’s great news considering he is still twenty-nine years old.
Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams showed some improvements in 2014, but their careers to this point have been married with fan frustration. Gilbert definitely made bigger strides, and the Steelers are lucky that Adams isn’t a starter.
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Hopefully, another offseason with Mike Munchak continues the improvement of this offensive line. What used to be a weakness is turning into a strength. With an aging Ben Roethlisberger and an MVP-caliber running back, the trend needs to continue.
Pro Football Focus ranked the Steelers’ offensive line the eighth best in the NFL, an unimaginable rank in 2012 or 2011. This draft will be a good opportunity for the Steelers to take on some young depth that fit Munchak and his system, and bring them up through the ranks. A possible target is an athletic guard with good pass block skills to replace Foster down the road.
Miles Dieffenbach of Penn State could be a target. He is a Pittsburgh native and seems to have great character traits. He does have some questions medically and should slip into the late rounds.
Overall, the offensive line was a highlight of the 2014 season, and the hope is that it continues to be an asset.