We are now at a point during the offseason in which we find ourselves looking at training camp just around the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league, and a lot has changed for them over the course of the past several months. They have lost a number of players in free agency, through releases, and retirements. But they have also brought in a number of new faces to replace them.
We all know that roster turnover is an ever-present reality for today’s rosters, and it seems that over the course of the past half-decade or so even the Steelers have proven to be as susceptible to the annual shakeup as anybody. With that in mind, we should take the time to get to know some of the new faces with training camp soon to be here.
I figured, talking about rookie undrafted free agent Ethan Cooper yesterday, that it would be fitting to stick with an offensive lineman theme to our new faces series today, introducing you to first-year Steelers interior lineman Mike Matthews (#62), whose last name connotes and denotes a certain football royalty.
Mike Matthews is indeed the son of Bruce Matthews, a lineman in the Hall of Fame, and he has a number of uncles, siblings, and cousins who have also found success in the NFL. Mike has yet to make a 53-man roster, but he is hoping to make headway working under another Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak.
While Mike Matthews understands that name recognition is not going to get him very far in this league, there is inevitable value in having the resources that come with it. Being able to consult his father is certainly to his benefit.
He previously said that Bruce Matthews and Mike Munchak are good friends, so that doesn’t hurt either.
Still, the young lineman will be hard-pressed to make this 53-man roster, as the Steelers figure, barring health, to bring into the 2017 season the most stacked group of eight offensive lineman that they have arguably ever had in their history. If not the best depth they have ever had from top to bottom, it’s definitely close.
In a year in which roster spots are once again precious commodities for deeper positions that will bear greater fruit as potential contributors either immediately on special teams or in the near future on offense or defense, it would seem unlikely that they will carry a ninth lineman on the 53-man roster.
But they will almost assuredly carry two linemen on the practice squad as a result, and Matthews has a realistic shot of landing one of those positions, though he will have to compete with the likes of Cooper, Matt Feiler, and Kyle Friend in order to do so.