The more you can do, the better.
That is the mantra OL Spencer Anderson is embracing as a seventh-round draft pick as he attempts to make the Steelers 53-man roster this summer. Anderson flew under the radar for many in the draft industry during the pre-draft process. A 32-game starter during his time with the Terps, he lacked that defining trait in his game regarding his run blocking or pass protection to make teams consider him before Day Three of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Still, Anderson’s calling card to make the roster for the Steelers, who overhauled their offensive line, is his versatility. GM Omar Khan said as much shortly after the draft, stating that Anderson’s versatility is what made him attractive to the Steelers at the end of the draft. Anderson spoke more about his versatility at the team’s rookie minicamp and how valuable that positional versatility is as he attempts to secure a roster spot.
“Me having experience at all five, even a handful of snaps at left tackle, that helps me a lot,” Anderson said to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. “Snapping the ball, a lot of guys don’t like to snap the ball or have the overall knowledge for it.”
Anderson played all over the offensive line in college, starting 12 games at RG, 11 at RT, four at LT, and five at C. Last season, Anderson logged 24 snaps at LG, successfully playing all five positions during his tenure in college. While his extensive center experience came in 2021, he did log 316 snaps there just a season ago, having more experience at the pivot than Kendrick Green did coming out of Illinois in 2021.
With Mason Cole firmly entrenched as the team’s starting center for 2023, Anderson’s best bet to making the 53-man roster is to become this team’s versatile interior swing man at center and guard. Green has flamed out in just two seasons with the team and doesn’t look long for the roster while center Ryan McCollum doesn’t have that same positional versatility Anderson has. With Nate Herbig projected to be the backup guard behind Isaac Seumalo and James Daniels and Kevin Dotson currently behind them, Anderson’s best bet is to win the backup center job while having the capability to step in at guard and potentially as a break-the-glass OT given his experience there as the Steelers’ potential OT4 if they choose to cut Le’Raven Clark.
Anderson has called himself a football nerd, and he sees the writing on the wall when it comes to his path to making this roster. Being able to snap the ball and play center effectively will give you a shot with any team, even if you are a seventh-round draft pick. Green was thrust into this role as a rookie and fell flat on his face. Anderson is in a better spot to succeed as a clear backup behind Cole who needs to be competent enough to step in a center if needed. Former Steelers IOL J.C. Hassenauer held this role for the last several seasons, and now it looks as if that role in Anderson’s to lose heading into training camp.