The Pittsburgh Steelers have recently concluded their offseason schedule, complete with nine OTA practices and the three-day minicamp, and are currently off for about five weeks before they re-emerge in Latrobe for the start of training camp.
Not much is expected to happen between now and then as far as new goes regarding the team. Ideally, the players will simply be focused on getting in the best possible shape heading for the long haul that begins with training camp and concludes, hopefully, with a deep postseason run.
That means that the roster heading into camp should just about be set, so now during the dead time it’s worth taking a dip back into the positional depth charts to see where we stand following the offseason reports, continuing with the interior offensive line.
Maurkice Pouncey: Pouncey may have played the best ball of his career in 2014 after missing nearly all of the previous season with an ACL tear, which is an impressive feat in itself. He is locked in long-term, and for good reason, as he continues to grow into a leadership role. And he is still even making strides in improving his play on the field.
David DeCastro: DeCastro has yet to fully come into his own as a no-brainer Pro Bowl player, as many anticipated after he was selected in the first round in 2012, but he has been far from a disappointment. He has enough tape displaying sustained dominance that, as good as he already is, there is still better to come.
Ramon Foster: Foster, 29, is entering the final year of his contract, in addition to coming off a down year. While his lack of athleticism places some limits on what the offensive line might be capable of doing, he is a proven veteran and as solid a locker room guy as there is.
Cody Wallace: Entering his third season with the team, Wallace has started six games over the past two years, with four coming at center in 2013 and two at guard last year. While he looked better at center, his natural position, he played well enough for the team to win. He figures to remain the favorite for the top interior reserve this season.
Chris Hubbard: After sticking to the 53-man roster in his second attempt last year, Hubbard played just a handful of snaps, most of which game in garbage time against the Panthers in a blowout. The Steelers brought in competition in bulk this year for his spot.
B.J. Finney: The favorite among that competition figures to be Finney, who like most of the candidates below boasts valuable position flexibility, though he is primarily a center. He has better size and pedigree than Hubbard, but the incumbent has two years of NFL experience under his belt.
Miles Dieffenbach: Dieffenbach was a draftable player like Finney, but his undrafted status is most likely tied with the ACL tear he suffered last year that kept him out of most of his final season.
Reese Dismukes: Though a bit undersized, Dismukes plays with functional strength, and is an intelligent player, though his work in pass protection needs more improvement than does his run blocking ability.
Collin Rahrig: A late addition, Rahrig was a tryout player during rookie minicamp and was only recently signed as an injury replacement. He is yet another undrafted rookie interior reserve looking to get his hands on Hubbard’s job. But how will they all get playing time?