Evidently something that I missed over the course of the past two weeks or so while I was in Germany or preparing to go there is the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been working a lot with rookie offensive lineman Larson Graham, whom they initially listed as a tackle.
The college free agent was immediately moved to guard, but it seems that the Steelers are force-feeding him snaps as a center as well, which is not necessarily something that you would expect to see for a player in his situation, who is already working on transitioning from one position to another.
But of course, as they always say, the more you can do. Graham was the primary beneficiary of Ramon Foster’s injury, at least after B.J. Finney, as he was the one promoted from the third-team line to the second team when Finney moved up with the starters.
By the first full day of Foster’s absence, the team was giving Graham reps at both left and right guard, with the second and third teams, feeding him a ton of snaps. It was a few practices after that, during the sixth training camp practice according to Alex Kozora’s notes, that he began taking snaps at center, and has been doing so pretty regularly since then.
The evident downside of this move, however, seems to be that he has spent most of his time since moving to center working with the third-team group, rather than with the second team at guard. In fact, he didn’t even get mentioned in the two practices leading up to Thursday’s game.
But back on the practice field yesterday, Graham was working with the second-team at center. Of course, center Maurkice Pouncey was also given a day off, so it would only have been natural for him to move up one line. He also botched a snap, but that’s going to happen when you’re learning multiple new positions.
I will be interested to see how his situation continues to develop. Are the Steelers simply trying to find a position in which he can be competent, or are they moving him around because they think he can be useful as a versatile piece? What are his odds of being kept on the practice squad, and how much of it is tied to his ability to wear a number of different hats?
During the Steelers’ opening preseason game, Graham did get the chance to play with a number of starters resting (Foster, Pouncey, and Marcus Gilbert all sitting out), and Finney also leaving with an injury. He ended up logging about a couple dozen snaps, but they all came at guard.