Ed: Steelers Have Little Depth in O-Line


Good morning,

The Steelers believe they have a good, young offensive line that will be together for awhile, but what they do not have is depth, and Mike Adams’ injury makes that point again.

Yes, Kelvin Beachum did a nice job at right tackle for five games last season after the injuries to Marcus Gilbert (now the starting left tackle) and Adams, and he is a good alternative there. But he may be the only good alternative at tackle and guard, and there is no good alternative at center right now.

Last year, Ramon Foster was their backup guard with Willie Colon at left guard and David DeCastro at right guard. When DeCastro was hurt, Foster moved to right guard. When Colon was hurt, Maurkice Pouncey moved for one game to left guard and Doug Legursky started at center.

Colon and Legursky are no longer here and Foster is the starting left guard. Who backs up the guards? Beachum. But if he’s playing tackle, that means John Malecki is the next man up if a guard is hurt. Malecki, who spent the first 2 ½ months of last season on the practice squad, has played in one NFL game – he came in as a substitute in the 2012 season finale against Cleveland at guard.

Malecki right now also is the backup center unless Beachum gets that technique down as well. Malecki is an undrafted player from Pitt who was on the practice squads at Cleveland and Tampa Bay as a rookie in 2010 and on those of the Redskins and Steelers in 2011. He was on the Steelers’ practice squad last year until Willie Colon’s injury.

The Steelers have had success with undrafted rookies, and Malecki may be the next one, but the point here is that they really have no experience or top prospects behind their starters in the offensive line.

Guy Whimper? He’s experienced, but not the kind that would make Ben Roethlisberger breathe easy. Whimper has not done well anywhere and Beachum was the first man up when Adams was hurt.

Here is the list of the rest of the offensive linemen on the Steelers’ 90-man roster:

Guards – Nik Embernate, Justin Cheadle, Chris Hubbard.
Tackles – Mike Golic, Jr., Mike Farrell, Joe Long.
Center – Joe Madsen.

That’s it. Legursky visited the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday. Chris Kemoeatu remains unsigned.