Roster breakdown: Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 offensive line

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (78). Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (78). Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) and center Maurkice Pouncey (53)  Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Pouncey will go down as the 3rd best center in Steelers history.

That is saying something considering he has 2 sure-fire Hall of Famers ahead of him in Steelers history. He had a remarkable career with the Steelers as the cornerstone to one of the best offensive lines in the NFL for much of the last decade.

Status: Under Contract

Contract: In his final year due to count for just over $6.4 million against the cap

While Pouncey will be one of my favorite players ever, his time is running up in the Steel City. He just had by far the worst season in his career from both the performance of the entire line that he leads and an individual standpoint. His final game against the Browns was the worst performance I have ever seen him put out. There was a multitude of bad snaps, he got blown up by Larry Ogunjobi all game, and the miscommunications on the line that caused penalties were bad.

I think he should retire now, but I am dreaming when I say he should pull a Kellen Moore and become the Steelers’ new position coach over the o-line. Remember Moore retired from playing quarterback as a backup for the Cowboys to become the new quarterbacks’ coach within the same year. Moore is now being interviewed for head coaching spots around the league when he was just playing a couple of years ago. We have seen Pouncey as a leader on some of the better offensive lines in franchise history. I think he could be a great position coach, this gives him a chance to continue chasing that elusive Super Bowl ring he has yet to get.

Potential replacements in the 2021 draft

Josh Myers (Ohio State) is my personal favorite for the Steelers in this draft. He is only projected to go in rounds 2-4, though I would not mind nabbing him with the 24th pick. He is an absolute mauler in the run game and his main weakness is picking up blitzes on the inside. He only won the starting job in 2019 so he is less experienced. I expect with some coaching and more game experience he will develop into a fantastic center in the NFL.

Landon Dickerson (Alabama) We could honestly pick two Alabama offensive linemen in the first two rounds and no one would be disappointed. Dickerson was having a career year in Alabama before a knee injury ended his season in the Conference championship game against Florida. He isn’t the most athletic and will come with limitations, however, he is the most technically sound center in the draft. He is a gamer and while he will likely not show out in the combine, when you see him in live-action you understand why Nick Saban loved him so much that he sent him hobbling out in the National Title game to snap in victory formation.

Rashawn Slater (Northwestern) He is a super athlete who sat out the 2020 season due to Covid. He can literally lineup at tackle, guard, or center, and with a little coaching would be a great starter. Many are forgetting his dominance in the 2019 season, but make no mistake if he falls any team will be lucky to nab this player with perennial All-Pro potential in the latter half of the first round or the top of the second. He hasn’t played in a year and is still projected to go before the end of round 2. He very well may break a combine record or two for linemen this year. There isn’t much else that can be said after that.