The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up twenty-ninth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of center/guard B.J. Finney.
Intro: Finney, the Steelers interior backup swingman, nearly played 300 regular season snaps last season due to injuries and that included him making three starts at left guard. The former undrafted free agent out of Kansas State showed during the regular season that he could be a reliable backup and especially during those starts.
Current Strengths: Finney’s play at left guard last season was impressive and he showed that he could move and function effectively out in space and especially when asked to pull to the right side. He uses his hands well at guard and much, much better than he does at center. Balance is another strength of his.
Current Weaknesses: As a pass protector, Finney needs some improvement and especially at the center position. His angles against A-gap pressure and twist recognition also needs improvement. While not asked to play center much in 2016, he struggled at that position when asked to play there. His snap timing and head bobs were off more than a few times. Needs to become a better anchorer and drive better off the snap against larger defensive tackles. Shorter arms hinders him at times.
2017 Outlook: Finney should once again be the Steelers primary interior swingman in 2017 and thus his playing time will depend entirely on the health ahead of him. He’s a lot better NFL guard right now than he is a center, the position he mainly played in college.
2017 Base Salary: $540,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $540,000
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Zero games missed last season due to injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 299 of 1,083
2016 Stat That Matters: One sack allowed in 2016