2018 Offseason Questions: Can B.J. Finney Be A Full-Time Starter?

B.J. Finney, a potential starter for the Steelers

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: Is B.J. Finney capable of being a full-time starter?

I realize that B.J. Finney is not just a very popular player in our community, but also a player that is held in high regard for his play, specifically at left guard. The former undrafted free agent has started five games at left guard over the course of the past two seasons, and he has played well there, particularly as a run-blocker.

In other words, I know what the popular answer is going to be to this question: of course Finney is capable of being a full-time starter. Many are even going so far as to assume that he is going to take over for Ramon Foster, perhaps as early as this season, if not next year.

And maybe that’s true. But we don’t actually know that to be the case. There was a pretty significant contingent that believed the Steelers would be better off, when taking salary and injury into consideration, with Cody Wallace at center than Maurkice Pouncey.

It’s one thing to be established as a quality spot-starter, which I think Finney already has, and another thing entirely to actually move into the starting lineup on a full-time basis. Foster began his career as a spot starter as well, and it wasn’t certain from the beginning that he would ever be a full-time starter, even after he took over the job.

It wasn’t, in fact, until the 2013 season that Foster was granted a full-time job. He did start for the entirety of the 2012 season, but that was only because David DeCastro suffered a torn MCL in the preseason. He would have been on the bench otherwise. Willie Colon was injured at the end of the year and Foster started the final three games at left guard, where he has remained since then.

This is actually a question that the Steelers really have to consider, because chances are Foster is not going to play a whole lot longer. He will play this season at the age of 32 and is on the final year of his contract. Do they not have to worry about the position, or should they be looking to draft another guard high?

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