Steelers’ Offseason Roster Construction Post-Draft Might Be ‘Center’ Of Attention

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason 90-man roster is beginning to materialize more by day following the 2023 NFL Draft. Even so, there are sure to be more players on the way throughout the summer due to continued roster shuffling. One position group that might need more attention based on how the current makeup of the roster looks is center.

Currently, the Steelers don’t have an attractive center depth chart just a few days removed from the 2023 NFL Draft. That position group now seems to consist of starter Mason Cole, Kendrick Green, who didn’t even play a single snap in 2022 after being the team’s starter most of his 2021 rookie season, Ryan McCollum, a practice squad player from 2022, and Trevor Downing, one of the team’s seven undrafted free agents that has come to terms. One might be able to add seventh round selection Spencer Anderson to that list as he did play some center at Maryland during his college career, nearly 400 snaps in total.

If we’re being technical here, Green might just be considered the Steelers top backup to Cole as we sit here in early May. If that’s the case, that can’t give the team a great feeling right now. Behind Green might just be McCollum, but he’s only played 101 NFL snaps to date. To be crystal clear, we don’t really know who the team considers to be the primary backup behind Cole and we might not get that answer until OTAs get underway a few weeks from now.

Before we move forward, yes, I do realize that two other Steelers offensive linemen under contract, James Daniels, and Nate Herbig, both have some center experience in the NFL. That noted, there have been no signs that either are being considered as the top backup at the position in 2023 behind Cole as the calendar flips to May. We’ll see if that changes as we get into to OTAs, but until then, both should be considered guards that could play center in case of an emergency.

So, will the Steelers add another legitimate backup center to their offseason roster in the coming weeks? I think that notion is quite plausible. If they do, perhaps that center will come via a soon-to-be released player now that the draft is behind us. Another source could be a currently unsigned free agent center, even though that list of players isn’t overly appetizing outside of maybe Matt Skura, who apparently was born in Pittsburgh. Skura, however, has mostly played guard the last two seasons. His last heavy workload at center hasn’t been since 2020 when he was with the Baltimore Ravens.

Might the XFL be the source for a backup center for the Steelers? It’s possible, but with that also being a plausible notion, there aren’t very many options overall. The main candidates from that league seem to be Jared Thomas, Luke Juriga, and Mike Panasiuk, if you are keeping score at home. None of those three are likely to be much of an upgrade over McCollum, however.

Obviously, the Steelers won’t have to finalize their 2023 53-man roster for another four months and a lot of things that can happen in the meantime. Personally, I think that the team’s Week 1 backup center isn’t currently on the team. If that is indeed the case, it will be interesting to see where that player ultimately comes from and when.

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