Kiper: David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey Could Become the Best Guard/Center Combo in the NFL
by Neal Coolong on Jul 7, 2012
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper did a summer audit of the AFC North, and had some high praise for the future of the Steelers offensive line.
The selection of RG David DeCastro in this spring's draft gives the team a high-level guard in terms of athleticism, power and intelligence. Playing him next to Pro Bowl C Maurkice Pouncey, in Kiper's eyes, could give the Steelers the best combination of the two positions in the NFL.
That's high praise, and obviously, something every team would want, given the choice.
Injuries have been the main concern around Pouncey. He looked strong at times last year, but at other times, looked like he was off a step or two. After breaking his ankle in the AFC Championship game at the end of the 2010 season, and missing the Super Bowl, it was clear the level of play along the Steelers interior offensive line was down.
DeCastro somehow fell to No. 24, where the Steelers probably beat the commissioner to the podium to submit their pick.
The versatility the two will bring - the ability to pull to either direction - gives the Steelers loads of options in the running game. Add in the move of Willie Colon from right tackle to left guard, you're looking at the interior offensive line going from one of the worst in the NFL to one of the best in one offseason.
Kiper also mentioned the Steelers' big question this season surrounding their younger players.
My question is whether some of the younger personnel [on defense] can make that next step and become dynamic. Lawrence Timmons is already exceptional, but it's time for guys such as Cameron Heyward, Jason Worilds and Steve McLendon to become names.