Pittsburgh Steelers third-round pick Justin Layne and his family made headlines last month when they were drafted by the rival of the team that many of them were born into supporting, that being the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland had shown a lot of interest in him, but then ended up trading up in the second round to draft another cornerback instead of him.
He immediately took off his Browns socks as soon as the Steelers drafted him and threw them in the garbage. Over the proceeding weekend, his father repainted his very Browns-themed bathroom into Steelers black and gold, complete with the team logo.
Turns out, it wasn’t the only story of that nature in the division stemming from the draft this year. The Baltimore Ravens drafted a player whose entire family, while hailing from Kansas, bled black and gold themselves. But not anymore.
Guard Ben Powers, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, is now fully on board with the purple and black, as is his whole family. It all changed “in about 30 seconds”, he told the team’s website. “All the Steelers stuff disappeared”, though he added, “they’ve got a lot of stuff in storage”.
The Steelers were not much in need of offensive line help this year, so it was highly unlikely he would end up in Pittsburgh. They have arguably the deepest offensive line in the league from top to bottom—so deep that they had the luxury of trading their starting right tackle for a sixth-round pick.
In fact, they waited until the seventh round to bring in Derwin Gray out of Maryland. Given that he grew up in D.C., I’m just going to assume that he was probably a fan of the Washington sports team, though don’t quote me on that. Still, I’m sure he’s happy to be in Pittsburgh too.
With the Ravens, Powers could potentially compete for a starting job right away at left guard, along with Alex Lewis and James Hurst. “I’m here for a reason”, he said about the possibility of starting. “That’s how I’m approaching it. I’m going to give it my best, day in and day out, and see what happens”.
One of the Ravens’ already-established starters along the offensive line is second-year Orlando Brown, Jr. He was teammates with Powers on the Sooners’ starting offensive line, so there is already some familiarity there.
The other established starters are Ronnie Stanley at left tackle and of course Marshal Yanda at right guard. For the time being, it appears likely that Alex Skura will remain their center.
Lewis was an established starter as a rookie in 2016, starting 10 games before he was injured, but ailments have plagued his career. He missed all of 2017 and six games last year, narrowly avoiding a serious neck injury, which is why he will have to compete for his job again this summer.