It seems like only yesterday that the Pittsburgh Steelers signed tackle Alejandro Villanueva to their practice squad following him being waived as a defensive lineman by the Philadelphia Eagles. However, here were are now nearly four years since that transaction took place and Villanueva has been the Steelers starting left tackle for 42 consecutive regular season games. Not only that, he’s now the Steelers leading iron man entering the 2018 season.
Villanueva’s streak of 42 regular season games started leads all Steelers players currently under contract with the team. Not only that, when it comes to tackles around the NFL, there are only four others who currently have longer streaks than the former Army captain does. Those tackles are Mitchell Schwartz (96), Jake Matthews (62), Donovan Smith (48) and Morgan Moses (48).
When it comes to Villanueva’s streak it’s quite impressive when it comes to Steelers history and the left tackle position. In fact, I’m pretty sure you have to go all the way back to the 1970s to find the last time a Steelers player that started more than 42 regular season games in a row at left tackle. That player, according to my research, was the great Jon Kolb.
Think about all of Villanueva’s primary predecessors at left tackle going all the way back to Kolb. That list of players includes Kelvin Beachum, Mike Adams, Max Starks, Marvel Smith, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson and Ray Pinney and none of them were able to string together starting streaks at left tackle longer than the one Villanueva currently has.
Villanueva won’t turn 30 years of age until September and he’s currently signed through the 2020 season. In short, and barring an injury, he could be the Steelers starting left tackle for the next 48 regular season games. And to think the Steelers were essentially the only team that wanted him.