Part of this makes me queasy. The Pittsburgh Steelers should sign “X” article is as worn out as they come. Ideal depth at every position is impossible. Show me someone that has done that and I’ll show you a person playing Madden.
But if there’s one position the team should look to upgrade, or better phrased, add competition to, is offensive tackle.
The Steelers are dangerously thin of veteran experience at the position. The only tackle with any Sunday experience is the beleaguered Mike Adams. Even conceding the fact he got a little better in 2014, it was more a product of the bar of expectations being set so low.
Sitting behind him are intriguing names, led by the massive Alejandro Villanueva, but none without a shred of experience to their resume. It makes the situation a little unsettling, knowing how much Adams has struggled and in reality, his one-position limitation. In theory, he could play left tackle but his skillset and tape shows a player who has, and will, get eaten alive there.
A free agent addition wouldn’t be hailed as the savior, a knight in shining black and gold armor. But it would add some competition and create some comfort without feeling like you have to keep Adams or entrust a young player to be the swing tackle. What if Adams severely falters and none of the others are deemed NFL ready? You’re crossing your fingers Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert don’t miss time.
Even last season, the team strung along Guy Whimper to offer some level of competition. A veteran, versatile tackle. Ultimately he was cut but was there to push Adams. No such presence exists this year. With the deadline for signings to count in the compensatory pool past, not that it would have moved the needle much anyway, there is little downside to the signing.
This request seems unlikely to take place given the gluttony of offensive lineman brought in following the draft. Another move doesn’t seem in the mix.
If we dream – and this is what a man blogging in mom’s basement dreams of – who could be an option to bring in? The market isn’t great, as you’d expect at this point, but has some notable veterans.
Ryan Harris was once a quality tackle for the Denver Broncos before spending two years with the Houston Texans and 2014 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s mostly been a right tackle but does boast the movement skills Adams has never shown.
Anthony Collins was jettisoned out of Tampa Bay as quickly as he came. Considering the lack of interest in him following his release, he shouldn’t cost much over the minimum. He’s another plus athlete with a lot of left tackle experience, something few players on the open market have. The Steelers have a lot of familiarity with him, scouting him during the six years he spent with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Perhaps the McQuistan brothers make the most sense. Paul McQuistan is the more successful of the two, a 52 game career starter who spent 14 of those with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. Pat McQuistan has just eight career starts since coming into the league in 2006 but has that classic Steelers “bottom-of-the-barrel, Guy Whimper/Jonathan Scott” feel.
It’s a move that won’t revolutionize the team. But one that will push everyone currently in the room that much more while giving the Steelers a bit of flexibility when shaping their final roster. For a mid-May roster move, that’s all you can ask for.