With a look to the offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the process of shaping their summer roster. They re-signed nearly everyone on their practice squad, sans Tyler Murphy, to future deals that can keep this players through camp. They also added several players from outside the organization, as is the norm, to futures deal. We’ll take you through each one and give you the skinny on each player. Nothing incredibly in-depth but enough background on each to get your familiar with who these people are.
Brian Mihalik/OT 6’8/7 302 – Boston College
Our first on the list is Brian Mihalik, now listed as an offensive tackle, and I choose those words more carefully because this is his first exposure to the position. He played as a defensive end at Boston College and throughout high school and there’s nothing to suggest he’s ever played along the offensive line before. Standing in at a hair under 6’9 and making the switch, he’ll draw obvious comparisons to Alejandro Villanueva. Mike Munchak has become the Steelers’ version of Ray Searage – taking on projects and longshots the way Searage has molded Pirates’ pitchers.
One of the scouting reports I wrote last year was on Mihalik so I had a feel for his game – even with the position switch – as soon as I saw his name on the transaction list. Despite the intriguing size and length, I didn’t even give him a draftable grade. The largest negatives being a poor straight-line athlete with poor change of direction skills who didn’t make many impact plays as a defensive end. The important thing to look for is transferable traits and the one positive Mihalik has is a decent burst out of his stance for a player of his size.
For extra background, Mihalik grew up in Avon Lake, Ohio. Hockey was his first sport before giving way to football, playing defensive and tight end. West Virginia and Stanford offered him scholarships but he chose Boston College, where his father went to school and played fullback in the 1980s. His career sputtered along, never starting an entire season until 2014, his senior year in which he recorded 5.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks.
Any future report is going to have a difficult projection with so little information to go off of but he could be the toughest prediction of them all. He’s sure to have a fun feature piece by us or another media outlet with the main idea being a comparison to Villanueva. But expect that to be the closest Mihalik is able to come to reaching Villanueva’s status as a starter. There was much more time to work with him than Mihalik and he’s almost assuredly the better athlete.
It’s a longshot, one with more bark than bite, but an interesting case study that will really push Munchak’s ability to teach.