Steelers can revive their early round OL draft success without 24

North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) (Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) (Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) /

Once an argument for their greatest strength on the team, the Pittsburgh Steelers are faced with an inevitable turnover at OL.

With the 18th pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Maurkice Pouncey, center from Florida. The bells rang, fans cheered, and Pouncey’s excitement seemed endless. An illustrious career, one that included nine Pro Bowls, two All-Pros, and a member of the Hall of the Fame All-2010s team, he would be the first of quality picks the Steelers have selected at OL in the past decade.

More specifically, those that have been drafted in the first three rounds. A year after came along second-round pick T Marcus Gilbert and although he doesn’t boast the accolades like Pouncey, he reigned as a teammate in the Black & Gold for eight years, starting 87 of the 88 games he appeared in. Then in 2012, G David DeCastro, whose journey continues in this league, has been nominated to the Pro Bowl the past six seasons and twice as an All-Pro.

Now, fast forward, and don’t stop. Think back and imagine holding that fast forward button down on the VCR, and do not let up until the tape spins its way to 2018—a six-year hiatus in not selecting an OL in an early round, and for a good reason. From 2012-2017, PFF ranked the Steelers offensive line top ten for three of those six seasons.

Their draft selections previously listed were the core to this success but were also aided from the outside in a way they can only hope to replicate. Signature free agent signings such as T Alejandro Villanueva & G Ramon Foster how Pittsburgh has an eye for talent along the front but will be tested once again here soon.

The Steelers must reestablish their draft repertoire of OL

Pittsburgh has to quickly turnaround the form of their offensive line. Seeing its current condition, they lack a foundation for its future and there’s absolutely no way they can rely on it to make a final run with QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Thankfully, while last year was an uproar for OL in the draft, 2021 could be even better. In 2020, the top-end highlighted the group, as five OTs were selected in the first twenty picks. However, as analysts project, this upcoming class won’t have the supposed star-power as it’s previous; the depth is outstanding.

Names such as Creed Humphrey, Wyatt Davis, & Liam Eichenberg could likely remain in front of their TVs amongst their friends & family going into mid-late round two, purely based on the amount of talent surrounding them. Implying a higher position, they’re a bubble of other names in this class that would fit the hypothesis of, “if these players were in this draft, would they go higher or lower?”

It also creates a sort of alter-effect for Pittsburgh that extends past the focus of selecting an offensive line at 24. Meaning, maybe it even possibly gives them the flexibility of a trade-up for a particular name that has popularly been mentioned in fan dialogues.

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Knowing the measure of talent this offensive line group has & the draft capital Pittsburgh will enter with, the options seem endless in what the organization can do. For what they have done in the past for the position in early rounds & need to prepare for the future, the stars have aligned perfectly for the Steelers.