The biggest storyline for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason is arguably the front office’s continued activity along the offensive line. A year after signing two starters in free agency, the Steelers added two more significant pieces to the mix, one of whom will unquestionably start, the other also starter capable.
NFL analyst Brian Baldinger was a big fan of the signings of Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig, the former expected to plug in and start right away at left guard. Herbig is a less surefire starter but at worst should provide quality depth, which the Steelers lacked but were fortunate not to need in 2022.
“Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig, both of them have been trained by (offensive line coach) Jeff Stoutland in Philadelphia”, Baldinger said on 93.7 The Fan recently with Ron Cook and Joe Starkey. “Seumalo is a really good player. I mean, he’s an elite player, I think. He’s really smart, he’s big, he’s really tough. He doesn’t say two words, just goes about his business”.
Seumalo has been spoken of very highly by those around him, even if his reputation outside of tighter circles has not reached the same level of enthusiasm. A third-round draft pick in 2016, he will turn 30 years old in October. He does have an injury history but is coming off of his best season in which he played 1,137 snaps.
Although he started every game at right guard for the Eagles last season, his primary position has been left guard. He is also capable of playing center and tackle in a pinch, though guard is undoubtedly where he is best suited, particularly with respect to in-game experience.
The same is the case for Herbig, whom Baldinger believes finally got a chance to come into his own last season in his one year with the New York Jets. “Herbig really proved himself last year with the Jets. Got a chance to start really for the first time, consistently, and there were weeks where he was their best offensive lineman up in New York”, he said.
Granted, the Jets did not have a very good offensive line last season. Their best starter was arguably the other guard, Laken Tomlinson, at least in terms of pass protection. Veteran center Connor McGovern also did a respectable job. For Herbig, he played at his best in the middle of the season before trailing off late in the year. An injury ended his season prematurely.
The Steelers return all five starters from last season, with the only one almost definitely getting replaced being Kevin Dotson at left guard. That is where Seumalo is expected to play. They added guard James Daniels and center Mason Cole via free agency last year and both are expected to return to the starting lineup.
There is a possibility that the team could decide to move Daniels to center, which would create an opening at right guard. In such a case, we could see an open competition for the spot among Cole, Dotson, and Herbig.