The Pittsburgh Steelers have wrapped things up in minicamp and put an end to their spring practices, which means that we are officially into the dead zone, the slowest time of the year for football news and general activity, the time between the end of spring drills in mid-June to the opening of training camps in late July.
Before we get there, we are going to take a look at how the team’s roster has evolved since prior to the draft, the last time that we broke down the Steelers by position, and obviously a lot has changed since they have fleshed out their 90-man roster.
Total Positional Figure: 8
Ramon Foster: Veteran guard Ramon Foster logged his 100th game this past season, and, after signing a three-year contract to stay with the Steelers, is set to log his 100th start in 2016. He bounced back in 2015 after a bit of a shaky 2014 season that included an ankle injury that kept him out two games early in the year, but at age 30, one wonders how much longer he might have, at least in the starting lineup. For now, there have been no signs of slowing down.
Maurkice Pouncey: Coming off a season missed entirely following a fractured fibula and the complications sustained from multiple infections, Maurkice Pouncey is eager to get back to football. The 27-year-old four-time Pro Bowler has refused to take a day off this spring as he relentlessly prepares for his return.
David DeCastro: In Pouncey’s absence, David DeCastro took a prominent leap forward and reached All-Pro status for himself. While he has flashed talent since entering the league, he found a new level of consistency last season that has pushed him into the top tier of guards, and he is about to be paid like it.
Cody Wallace: Cody Wallace how now started more games for the Steelers than he has played snaps for other teams prior to coming to Pittsburgh in 2013, and he is 31. While he is not a particularly good starter, he is a quality backup. After all, players who are good starters find a way to start, generally. He is entering the last year of his contract, however.
Chris Hubbard: Entering his third NFL season, Chris Hubbard hasn’t logged a lot of snaps, but seems to be well-liked by the coaching staff. Still, his roster spot could be in jeopardy, particularly from the next player on the list.
B.J. Finney: B.J. Finney was a priority undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft, and played well in the preseason, only to get injured. He was eventually signed to the practice squad and given a raise equivalent to that of a rostered salary. This year, he hopes to crack the 53-man roster.
Cole Manhart: First-year Cole Manhart was signed as a Reserve/Future player and seems very much to be in the mold of the sort of undrafted free agent interior linemen that they have brought in the past couple of years.
Quinton Schooley: The lone undrafted rookie free agent interior linemen, Quinton Schooley has some interesting college tape, but one might wonder about his strength and mobility. To most, he does not compare favorably to Finney.
Notes and Camp Outlook: The starting lineup is most certainly set, though the reserve could potentially shuffle around. After Wallace started all of last season, I don’t believe his roster spot is in much jeopardy, especially considering the inexperience of the competition. The final spot appears to be down to Hubbard and Finney, both of who should be able to play both guard and center, with Finney the superior center.