3 Pittsburgh Steelers who are far more important than most fans realize

Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Alex Highsmith #56 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor (76). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

OT Chukwuma Okorafor

I hate that so much of Pittsburgh’s potential success on offense lies with the play of Chukwuma Okorafor this season, but we are kidding ourselves if we think he’s not an important part of this unit. Most coaches would probably argue that left tackle is the second most important position in all of football. While the Steelers may not view it that way, it doesn’t make it any less true.

For most of Ben Roethlisberger’s career, he had the privilege of playing with some quality left tackles. Former Pro Bowl tackle Marvel Smith was there when Ben began his career back in 2004 he and manned the left tackle spot until Max Starks shifted over to protect his blindside in 2008. Starks started his final season at left tackle in 2012 before Kelvin Beachum took over in 2013. When Beachum landed on RI in 2015, Alejandro Villanueva took over for the next 6 seasons – earning two Pro Bowl honors.

Clearly, the Steelers have been very fortunate when it comes to finding quality left tackles over the past twenty years, but they can’t automatically assume that their luck is going to continue with Okorafor. The young Steelers offensive tackle had a rough season in 2020 and he has some pretty big shoes to fill if he wants to be on par with the players before him. If he proves to be no good, Pittsburgh could have a gaping hole at one of the most important positions in football.