The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2018 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.
We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, however, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.
Position: Interior OL
Total Positional Figure: 10
Ramon Foster: Heading into his 10th NFL season, Foster continues to play well (he said that he was a first-alternate for the Pro Bowl in 2018). He is also 32 and entering the final year of his contract, with a player who has done well in five starts at his spot sitting behind him.
Maurkice Pouncey: Once the greatest player at his position, Pouncey is still among the best centers in the league nine years on, making seven Pro Bowls out of seven healthy seasons. The Steelers continue to utilize him in very demanding ways athletically, though he was a bit inconsistent last season in finding success on those assignments.
David DeCastro: Arguably the best guard in the game right now, DeCastro is the team’s best offensive lineman without a doubt in my mind. When you are able to actively incorporate a lineman into your gameplan, as they do with DeCastro for his work on counter runs, you know you’re good. But he has taken his game to another level in recent years, developing a long-sought consistency in both run-blocking and pass protection.
B.J. Finney: entering his third season now, Finney has started seven games over the past two years, including five at left guard, and the Steelers have had some of their best games with him in and positively contributing to that success. Is he the inevitably heir apparent at left guard?
Matt Feiler: A college tackle, Feiler and the Steelers have remade him into an interior player (even learning the center position this spring) who impressed so much that they awarded him with a start in the regular season finale last season, in which he showed well. He is also tackle-capable, but they appear to want to leave him inside.
Parker Collins: Collins is a physical player from the center position out of Appalachian State the team signed shortly before the draft. I admit I haven’t heard his name much this spring.
Larson Graham: Listed as a tackle, Graham has been working at guard, as I mentioned yesterday. It’s not clear if that is the fixed plan, but he is listed at 292 pounds.
Chris Schlueger: A rookie undrafted free agent with some warts. Mostly an interior player but has played some tackle as well. Limited athlete.
R.J. Prince: Another college free agent, Prince was a rookie minicamp invitee who earned a contract. Listed as ‘OL’, he has practice at guard and tackle, and even worked with the second-team line.
Patrick Morris: Morris, a center out of Texas Christian, was a third interior addition after the 2018 NFL Draft. A somewhat limited starter, he plays with power but has an injury history.
Players Lost: N/A
Notes and Camp Outlook:
Though I noted 10 for both the tackles and the interior, both groups share players. The team currently has 17 offensive linemen, and that includes Jerald Hawkins on injured reserve. The interior reserves this year seem set with Finney and Feiler, but a versatile lineman like Prince could make a push for a final roster spot. There will be a wide-open competition for the practice squad as well.