By Matthew Marczi
After submitting their first ‘final’ 53-man roster yesterday, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced today that they have claimed interior offensive lineman Cody Wallace after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In order to make room for him on the roster, the Steelers released John Malecki.
Wallace, a former 2008 draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round, has spent most of his career on various practice squads. He saw action in eight games for the Buccaneers last year, primarily on special teams. He saw 15 snaps on offense.
Malecki, a former undrafted player in 2010, has spent most of his career on the Steelers’ practice squad, and appeared finally to stick on a roster after making the cut with Pittsburgh this year. He was promoted to the active roster following a series of injuries for the 2012 season finale, and played about half the game against the Cleveleand Browns.
Whether or not this move is an upgrade in any meaningful sense is yet to be determined. Our eyes at Steelers Depot saw an improved John Malecki during this season, and seemed clearly entrenched as a game day inactive after having a strong preseason.
For what it is worth, Pro Football Focus graded Malecki’s preseason performance with a 5.1 rating, split between guard and center. He gave up one sack and two hurries in 101 snaps in pass protection, and earned a run blocking grade of 1.6 in 57 snaps.
Cody Wallace was rated at -4.9 overall in 175 snaps at guard and center. He gave up just two hurries in 90 snaps in pass protection, but he earned an abysmal -6.4 grade as a run blocker in 85 snaps.
We will likely take a closer look at Wallace and his preseason performance later this week, but as of right now, this appears to be a lateral move at best, if not a step backward.