NFL Draft

Study: What The Steelers Look For In Drafting Interior Offensive Linemen

Our last Pittsburgh Steelers “what they look for” study of the 2020 NFL Draft. Checking out the interior offensive line, centers and guards, for I believe the first time ever. Understand centers and guards can and do have different traits but the Steelers prioritize versatility so I was ok lumping them together.

Here are all of the guys they’ve drafted under Mike Tomlin with our criteria/thresholds below and today’s prospects who matched.

2019: Derwin Gray

Height: 6’4/4
Weight: 320
Arm Length: 34 3/8
Hand Size: 9 5/8
40 Time: 5.26
Ten Split: 1.89
Bench: 26
Vert: N/A
Broad: 7’6″
Short Shuttle: N/A
Three Cone: N/A

2014: Wesley Johnson

Height: 6’5/3
Weight: 298
Arm Length: 32 1/2
Hand Size: 10 1/8
40 Time: 5.11
Ten Split: 1.73
Bench: 26
Vert: 29
Broad: 9’3″
Short Shuttle: 4.64
Three Cone: 7.40

2012: David DeCastro

Height: 6’4/7
Weight: 316
Arm Length: 32 3/4
Hand Size: 10
40 Time: 5.43
Ten Split: 1.84
Bench: 34
Vert: 29.5
Broad: 8’2″
Short Shuttle: 4.56
Three Cone: 7.30

2011: Keith Williams

Height: 6’4/2
Weight: 318
Arm Length: 32 3/8
Hand Size: 10
40 Time: 5.36
Ten Split: 1.89
Bench: 23
Vert: 24.5
Broad: 7’9″
Short Shuttle: 5.03
Three Cone: 8.42

2010: Maurkice Pouncey

Height: 6’4/4
Weight: 304
Arm Length: 32 1/2
Hand Size: 10
40 Time: 5.29
Ten Split: 1.83
Bench: 25
Vert: 27
Broad: 7’11”
Short Shuttle: 4.92
Three Cone: 7.74

Chris Scott

Height: 6’4/5
Weight: 319
Arm Length: 34 1/8
Hand Size: 10 3/8
40 Time: 5.55
Ten Split: 1.93
Bench: 19
Vert: 22.5
Broad: 7’6″
Short Shuttle: 5.03
Three Cone: 8.24

2009: AQ Shipley

Height: 6’1/1
Weight: 304
Arm Length: 29 3/4
Hand Size: 8 1/2
40 Time: 5.26
Ten Split: 1.85
Bench: 33
Vert: 31
Broad: 8’4″
Short Shuttle: 4.40
Three Cone: 7.46

2007: Cameron Stephenson

Height: 6’3/2
Weight: 306
Arm Length: N/A
Hand Size: N/A
40 Time: 5.45
Ten Split: 1.88
Bench: 34
Vert: 28.5
Broad: 8’5″
Short Shuttle: 4.81
Three Cone: 7.72

Here is our criteria for guards/centers.

Height: 6’4+ (6 of 8)
Weight: 300+ (7 of 8)
Arm Length: 32+ (6 of 7)
Hand Size: 9 1/2 (6 of 7)
40 Time: 5.45 (7 of 8)
Ten Split: 1.90 (7 of 8)
Bench: 25 (6 of 8)
Vert: 24 (6 of 7)
Broad: 7’5” (8 of 8)
SS: 5.05 (7 of 7)
3C: 8.25 (6 of 7)

Despite relatively low standards, only one center/guard checked every single box. Clemson guard John Simpson.

Name/School Height Weight Arm Length Hand Size 40 Time 10 Split Bench Vert Broad SS 3 Cone
John Simpson/Clem 6’4/1 321 34 1/8 11 1/4 5.24 1.81 34 30 8’11” 4.87 8.03

 

Clemson was the one Pro Day Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert attended. He’s a guard only but a powerful blocker who battled an ankle injury his senior year.

Four more missed in just one area. Three due to height.

Cordel Iwuagwu/OG TCU: Height (6’2/7)
Jonah Jackson/OG Ohio State: Height (6’3/4)
Cesar Ruiz/OC Michigan: Height (6’2/6)
Logan Stenberg/OG Kentucky: Bench (DNP)

Jackson and Ruiz feel like they could be Steelers. Especially Ruiz, though it’s questionable if he’ll make it all the way to 49. Stenberg paved the way for Benny Snell and feels like a Steelers’ guard but I wasn’t crazy about his Senior Bowl performance.

I also looked at not every offensive tackle but the ones who could convert to OG. None of them checked every box which I’ll admit is a surprise. Unless there was Pro Day data I missed, only one failed in one category:

Jon Runyan Jr./OL Michigan: Hand Size (9 1/8)

Runyan mostly played LT at Michigan but also saw work at guard. He has the NFL bloodlines and pedigree the team looks for.

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