Center/Guard Doug Legursky – Steelers 2011 Free Agent
Free Agent Classification: EFA (exclusive rights free agent)
2010 Salary Estimation: $395,000 Base – $395,000 Cap Charge
Analysis: Onward and upward we go with our breakdown player by player of each of the Steelers 18 free agents and up next up for analysis is center/guard Doug Legursky. The play of rookie 1st round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey early in camp and preseason made the decision easy for the Steelers dub him the starting center over veteran Justin Hartwig. The Steelers also saw enough good things in Legursky to have confidence in him being the back-up to Pouncey at the center position, that Hartwig was released during the final roster cut downs before the season started. Legursky also was relied on to be a swing interior back-up as well as the season started behind starting guards Trai Essex and Chris Kemoeatu and he was the first man up when Essex went down with an ankle injury against the Titans in week 2. Legursky tallied nearly 15 snaps off the bench in that game and earned a start the following 4 weeks with Essex out. The play of Legursky in those 4 games was not stellar and Essex took back over in week 8 before giving way permanently to Ramon Foster. Legursky was used as part of the goal-line package quite a bit through out the season because of his short area quickness and also saw snaps at left guard when Kemoeatu missed time in the week 9 win against the Bengals.
Perhaps the biggest contribution Legursky made in 2010 was when Pouncey went down early in the AFC Championship game against the Jets. While not dominating, Legursky did hold his own in that game and he went on to be the starting center in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers as Pouncey was still sidelined. Legursky played admirably in the game giving up just two quarterback pressures in the game and showed he is very capable of holding down the center spot when called upon. He was Mr. Versatile in 2010 and saw nearly 450 snaps in 2010 including the playoffs.
Future: Because Legursky was signed has an undrafted free agent in 2008 to a two year contract, he is considered an exclusive rights free agent and must re-sign with the Steelers if offered a contract. The Steelers will certainly tender him at least a one year deal at or near the league minimum for his qualified amount and Doug will indeed be back with the Steelers in 2011. He will be the odds-on favorite to be the back-up once again to Pouncey and will be hard to be beat out of a roster spot by a rookie or undrafted free agent. He is a much better center than he is a guard, but has proven he can play all three interior positions when called upon. He can also crush as a lead fullback and has a strong grasp of the offense as well. It would be a shock if he is not on the opening day Steelers roster.
Other 2011 Steelers Free Agents Analysis