Ed: More than Anything, Seelers Need OLinemen
Friday, 06 April 2012 06:53
Written by Ed Bouchette
Good Good Friday Morning,
Let’s put aside for a moment which player the Steelers might draft on the first round, and concentrate on what they need. It won’t take anyone long to determine that their greatest need is not at inside linebacker, or at nose tackle or cornerback.
They need offensive linemen. Lots of them. Perhaps that is why the only visitor to them in free agency was offensive tackle Demetrius Bell, and two of the college prospects were also tackles, Bobby Massie of Mississippi State and Mike Adams of Ohio State.
The Steelers need tackles because they hardly have any, and one of their starters hasn’t been able to play more than one game in the past two seasons because of injuries, Willie Colon. Marcus Gilbert will move from right tackle, where he replaced Colon as the starter in his rookie season, to left tackle, where Mike Tomlin says is his more natural position.
There is not much behind them. Veteran Jonathan Scott is No. 3. He opened the season as their starting left tackle, a job he lost quickly. The only other tackle of note is Chris Scott, who was drafted in the fifth round in 2010 and has played in only two games. Jamon Meredith, briefly on the roster last season, woould have been a restricted free agent but the Steelers did not tender him an offer, making him unrestricted. He signed with Tampa Bay.
With Colon’s history of injuries and little depth, the Steelers could find themselves in trouble quickly at tackle. Perhaps they will draft one, but will he be able to step in the way Gilbert did last season? Perhaps Max Starks, who is unrestricted, will heal by the summer and will re-sign with them. He bailed them out last season when Jonathan Scott could not handle the left tackle job. After being cut before training camp, Starks re-signed after the fourth game and started the rest of the season. Maybe Trai Essex, also a UFA, will return too.
Then there is their shaky situation at guard. Right now, Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster are their starters.
They have one other guard on the roster, John Malecki.
Essex can play guard or tackle, but he can’t play both at the same time. The Steelers are desperate for offensive linemen, and they’ve already passed on the only one they have looked at in free agency.
They may not draft an offensive lineman first, but they surely must draft several of them.