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Thread: Steelers' position outlook: offensive line

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    Steelers' position outlook: offensive line

    Steelers' position outlook: offensive line

    May, 21, 2014
    By Scott Brown | ESPN.com

    PITTSBURGH -- This is the next in a series that takes a post-free agency, post-draft look at the all of the positions with the exception of quarterback.

    Our fourth look is at an offensive line that returns every starter and should get Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey back from a torn ACL.



    Adding Hall of Famer Mike Munchak to the coaching staff could take Pittsburgh's offensive line to the next level.

    Who is new: Wesley Johnson. The second of the Steelers' two fifth-round picks, Johnson started 51 career games at Vanderbilt, and the 6-foot-5, 297-pounder is athletic and versatile. Johnson started at least two games at every position along the offensive line except for right guard. The Steelers should know plenty about Johnson considering coach Mike Tomlin is good friends with James Franklin, who coached Johnson at Vanderbilt.

    Who is gone: Fernando Velasco. One of the unsung players of last season started 11 games at center before rupturing his Achilles tendon. Velasco remains unsigned as he works his way back from that injury.

    Returning starters: Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster, Pouncey, David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert. Beachum goes into offseason practice as the starter at left tackle after stabilizing the position last season and playing well in 11 starts there. He could face competition from Mike Adams, whom Beachum replaced at left tackle after the fourth game of 2013. Adams could also challenge Marcus Gilbert at right tackle. The Steelers are set at guard with Foster and DeCastro, who is already a Pro Bowl-caliber player. Pouncey returns at center, barring a setback, after tearing his right ACL in the 2013 season opener. Pouncey is the only center in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons.

    Most significant addition: Mike Munchak. The former Titans head coach joined Tomlin’s staff and he could be coach who brings everything together for a promising offensive line. Munchak is a Pro Football Hall of Fame guard, and he coached the offensive line for more than a decade before becoming the head coach in Tennessee. His credentials as an offensive line coach are impeccable, and Munchak is not lacking for talent to mold.

    Most significant loss: Velasco. He probably would have signed elsewhere as a free agent after playing well at center last season. With Velasco hurt the Steelers opted to re-sign Cody Wallace to provide depth along the interior of the line. They could re-sign Velasco once he is close to full strength and bring him to training camp to compete with Wallace.

    On outside looking in: Johnson. Assuming the Steelers keep eight offensive linemen when they finalize their 53-man roster, Johnson will probably have to beat out veteran Guy Whimper to make the team.

    Hidden number: Nine different offensive linemen started at least one game last season as injuries again scrambled the offensive line.

    Outlook: The Steelers have yet to field an offensive line that consistently controls the line of scrimmage under Tomlin. That could change this year, especially if the Steelers can stay relatively healthy up front. The Steelers invested heavily in their line from 2010-12 spending two first-round picks and a pair of second-round selections on offensive linemen. Now they have a position coach who can get the most out of a young but experienced group that also has good depth. “I’m excited to work with them,” Munchak said. “I think we can have a special group here.”

    http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/pos...offensive-line

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    If Johnson can't beat out Whimper for a roster spot it was a complete miss on a draft pick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    If Johnson can't beat out Whimper for a roster spot it was a complete miss on a draft pick.
    my thoughts exactly.
    Cleveland spelled backwards is DNA Level C
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    another AA/AS original.

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    If a 5th round rookie comp pick can't beat out a 9 year veteran (who was drafted higher) then he's a waste?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slapstick View Post
    If a 5th round rookie comp pick can't beat out a 9 year veteran (who was drafted higher) then he's a waste?
    Yep.... you know how we do. They are all bums and easily replacable with rookies

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    If Johnson can't beat out Whimper for a roster spot it was a complete miss on a draft pick.
    Steelers Rookie Profile: Wesley Johnson

    May 20, 2014



    For the first time that I can really remember the Steelers were going into a draft without having a big needs all along the offensive line.

    Not only are the Steelers set across the line as far as their starting line but they have some solid backup options like Mike Adams (assuming Gilbert starts) and Cody Wallace.

    That being said, I expected the Steelers to probably grab a late round project somewhere along to OL, if nothing else to give Mike Munchak someone that is one of “his guys.”

    I’ll admit I didn’t pay much attention to offensive lineman in the pre-draft process, but have done some research since taking Johnson, and I came away really impressed.

    Immediately when watching Wesley I thought, that’s Kelvin Beachum.

    I’m not sure if people have noticed in my write ups yet but I have a huge fan crush on Beachum, so that’s high praise coming from me.

    Wesley Johnson has a lot of the intangibles you want.

    I talked about how run defense is a priority for Steelers cornerbacks yesterday… Well with offensive lineman it’s versatility. Johnson’s played all 5 spots along the line, settling at LT to end his career at Vandy.

    Johnson has great durability, starting a record 51 games at Vanderbilt.

    He’s not really strong enough to have what I’d call a “mean streak” but he definitely is a high effort player; never stopping until the whistle blows.

    The selection of Johnson shows me that the zone scheme is here to stay. He’s a perfect fit for it with great technique and athleticism.

    The biggest issue he had in college was actually keeping weight on. He’s obviously not a natural 300 pound kid. As a result he also struggled against bigger ends that could bull rush him.

    Most analysts say that because of that he may be a more natural fit at center or guard. The word is he’s very smart, which is important for a center… but at 6’6″ that’s a pretty big center in my opinion.

    Almost all of these things were said about Beachum, but Johnson has seen better competition in his career; even having a pretty solid outing against Jadaveon Clowney in 2013.

    With Kevlin Beachum becoming more important to the offensive line in the starting lineup I see Wesley Johnson filling his old role as a backup really everywhere.

    If the Steelers would like to continue something we saw last year, which is a tackle coming in and playing TE for the added blocking… Wesley Johnson would be a perfect fit for that in the short term.

    This was a pick that originally was pretty lukewarm on, but the more I’ve looked into I think he could be a really valuable piece of the puzzle even if he’s not a starter.

    http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/ar..._head_16518202

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    he doesn't need to beat anyone out... we will have injuries as usual so he will see the field

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slapstick View Post
    If a 5th round rookie comp pick can't beat out a 9 year veteran (who was drafted higher) then he's a waste?
    No.

    If a 5th round rookie comp pick can't beat out the worst rated OL in the NFL, then he's a wasted pick.

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    The biggest issue he had in college was actually keeping weight on. He’s obviously not a natural 300 pound kid. As a result he also struggled against bigger ends that could bull rush him.

    Most analysts say that because of that he may be a more natural fit at center or guard.
    Don't understand this logic. If he struggled against bigger ends that could bull rush him, why would he be a more natural fit at center or guard, where he'd face off against bigger defensive tackles that could bull rush him? Doesn't it make more sense for the longer, leaner, more athletic linemen to play outside at tackle to match up against speed rushers, while the more powerful, stout guys who can handle a bull rush play inside?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCoast View Post
    No.

    If a 5th round rookie comp pick can't beat out the worst rated OL in the NFL, then he's a wasted pick.
    wrong.

    10 characters
    Last edited by feltdizz; 05-23-2014 at 04:23 PM.

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