Round 6-1: Max Sharping, OT, NIU
*Written by Donnie Druin*
The Steelers offensive line remains one of the top units finishing the 2018, yet have some questions to answer. With Ramon Foster and Matt Feiler set to hit free agency, and the rest of the offensive line starting to age (only a bit, not quite looking at assisted living homes), the best time to prepare for the future is before it’s truly needed.
Entering the 2018 season, Max Sharping was named one of the top ten offensive linemen to watch per USA Today. Sharping, who was originally projected to go in the top portion of the draft, has seen his stock fall due to the rising play of other tackles in his class. Sharping, who stands at 6’6” and 320 lbs, now is viewed as a later round pick despite continuing consistent play through the season.
Sharping brings flexibility to the table, as some believe he may transition as a guard at the professional level while showing he can play at the tackle position. With injuries always holding a place in football (especially in Pittsburgh), it’s important to have youth and flexibility in the trenches, something Sharping can offer at a great price in the sixth round.
By no means is Sharping ready to start day one, as he will need to be molded into whatever piece the Steelers may need him to be. However, the future with a young quarterback is quickly approaching with an offensive line that will need some reconstruction in the near future. With phenomenal offensive line coach Mike Munchak at the helm for Pittsburgh, the selection of Sharping can turn from project to starter thanks to his consistency and ability to play multiple positions.