The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.
Question: How much do the Steelers value Matt Feiler?
Matt Feiler has played fewer than 100 meaningful snaps over the course of his NFL career, so anybody ready to write a book about him is jumping the gun. The second-year player spent three seasons from 2014 through 2017 serving time on practice squads before he finally made the jump to the 53-man roster last year, after he had run out of practice squad eligibility.
Which meant for the Steelers that they had to decide either to carry him on the 53-man roster or to let him go. And no other team could sign him to their practice squad either. Though he’d never even played a snap prior to the 2017 season, he was in a position in which he had to make a team’s 53-man roster in order to be in the NFL.
Feiler came into the NFL as a tackle, but spent most of the past two years at guard. He impressed this preseason at that position, but worked at tackle during the regular season when Marcus Gilbert got injured, serving as the swing tackle behind Chris Hubbard, ahead of Jerald Hawkins.
He even got into a game at the end of the first half of the season when Hubbard suffered a head injury, taking the last handful of snaps at tackle. I don’t believe he played again until the season finale, when he started in place of David DeCastro at right guard while several starters rested.
He played well in that game, but he is not the Steelers’ top interior reserve—that would be B.J. Finney, nor on the outside, a spot for which Hawkins and Chukwuma Okorafor figure to compete this offseason. He is at best eighth and possibly ninth on the depth chart, likely holding the ninth spot with Okorafor being given a redshirt year if necessary, as a rookie third-round pick.
Does the 53-man roster have to break favorably in order for the team to carry nine offensive linemen again this season, which is probably necessary for him to make the team? They seem likely to go heavy on defensive backs this year, and will likely have at least as many linebackers this year as last year.