With the 2015 NFL Draft and rookie minicamp now in the rearview mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers 90-man offseason roster is getting pretty close to set, although there are always some late movements to balance out positional numbers or replace injured or underperforming players.
Now that the rookie class in in-house and the tryout players have either come and gone or stuck around, it’s time to take one last look at the Steelers’ roster as we head into the meat of the offseason. Last up for the offensive side of the ball is the interior offensive line.
Maurkice Pouncey: Pouncey overcame a significant ACL tear in 2013 to turn in an All-Pro campaign a year ago, having arguably the best season of his already decorated career. Entering his sixth season, he finds himself placed squarely in a leadership role in a young offense, and must become that player that is able to make those around him play better.
David DeCastro: It feels a bit odd to write that DeCastro is entering his fourth season already, but of course the fact that he missed almost all of his rookie season plays a role in that. At times dominant, the former first-round draft pick is still seeking to find more consistency in his game, and could stand to add more core strength, but he is a budding Pro Bowl-caliber talent.
Ramon Foster: The elder statesman of the offensive linemen at 29 and entering his seventh season, Foster is in the final year of a three-year contract. He had a down year that was likely affected by an early injury, and is looking to bounce back as rumors of his imminent replacement continue to swell.
Cody Wallace: Entering his third season with the team, Wallace proved last season that he is a more natural center than guard as he replaced Foster for two games early in the season a year ago. Regardless, he continues to be a valuable game day reserve, who has two years left on his deal.
Chris Hubbard: Hubbard made the roster as the best of an unimpressive group, which means that his position is vulnerable this year. Unsurprisingly, he saw very little action a year ago, from which next to nothing can be read.
B.J. Finney: The most touted of a trio of rookie undrafted free agents, Finney has extensive starting experience at center, but is also tackle-capable, and figures to be the main competition for Hubbard this summer.
Reese Dismukes: Somewhat undersized, but so is Hubbard, and Dismukes plays with more functional strength. Like Finney, Dismukes could have been drafted, and is regarded as an intelligent player. His pass protection needs more work than his run blocking.
Miles Dieffenbach: Dieffenbach missed most of his final collegiate season with a torn ACL, which helps explain why he wasn’t drafted. But he landed in a good situation to compete with Pittsburgh.
Notes: As can be seen, while the Steelers may not have addressed the offensive line in the draft, they targeted priority free agents, particularly along the interior, because they do have a keen interest in upgrading the depth at the position, perhaps with the upside of finding a starting guard, if not this year, then perhaps by next year.