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 nineteenth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of tackle Marcus Gilbert.
Intro: Gilbert’s 2016 season was another solid one and while he did miss three games with an ankle injury, he showed no ill-effects of it once he returned to action after the bye week. While he ultimately failed to receive any post-season honors for his play last season, you can argue that he was perhaps Pro Bowl worthy. He allowed four sacks last season according to our breakdowns.
Current Strengths: Gilbert’s reworked body and overall conditioning has improved immensely over the course of the last few seasons and while once maybe a perceived weakness early on in his career, his overall athleticism is now a visible strength and it allows him to function more effectively out in space and when occasionally asked to pull to the other side on dart plays. He uses his hands well and can effectively counter and mirror well in pass protection. He’s a very consistent player to boot.
Current Weaknesses: Gilbert will occasionally over set on the outside and when this happens he becomes vulnerable to inside moves that gain access to the pocket. Overall balance at times is also occasional problem for Gilbert as he can be knocked off his spot with a good club strike. He needs to still improve his overall leg drive when anchoring against bull rushes and when run blocking. Gilbert was flagged seven times last year during the regular season and three of those were for false starts.
2017 Outlook: Gilbert has become a complete right tackle since signing his lucrative contract extension a few years ago and he should be commended for overhauling his body composition as he looks a lot different than he did when he entered the NFL. He is perhaps the most-underrated starting right tackle in the NFL right now and there’s no reason to believe that 2017 won’t be another solid season for him.
2017 Base Salary: $4,000,000 plus $50,000 workout bonus
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $7,308,500
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Three games missed last season due to ankle injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 847 of 1,083
2016 Stat That Matters: Steelers averaged 5.98 yards per carry on runs to right tackle and right end from Week 9 on.