The best ability is availability. But the second-best ability is versatility. If you’re a late-round pick looking to stick in the NFL, the more hats you can wear, the better. That’s what the Pittsburgh Steelers were targeting with their final selection of the 2023 NFL Draft, Maryland offensive lineman Spencer Anderson. Appearing on Sirius XM’s Movin’ The Chains with hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan, Khan discussed what Anderson can offer the team.
“Spencer’s interesting because he’s listed as a guard, but we think he can play all the positions,” Khan said. “And he has played tackle at Maryland. And his position flexibility was really attractive to us. We think he can help us across the line.”
Anderson played all five spots at Maryland. As Dave Bryan tweeted shortly after the pick was made, Anderson saw most of his time at right guard last season but also logged snaps at right tackle and a handful at left guard.
In 2021, he saw several hundred snaps at center, too.
Anderson lacks ideal arm length to play tackle at sub-33 inches but has good size overall and is regarded as a solid pass protector. His biggest issue is a lack of a push in the run game, which doesn’t fit the Steelers’ ideals well, but his versatility could get him a final spot on the 53-man roster. In past years, versatile linemen from Chris Hubbard to John Leglue have stuck around and provided value by being able to play all over the line. Leglue went from training camp afterthought to learning how to snap (and even long snap) to sticking on the Steelers’ practice squad. He ended up starting five games for Pittsburgh in 2021.
The Steelers were incredibly fortunate to avoid serious o-line injuries last season and were the only team in the league to start the same front five in all 17 games. The odds of that happening again are low and Pittsburgh knows it, loading up on the o-line this offseason with free agency signings of Nate Herbig, Le’Raven Clark, and Isaac Seumalo (who will start) and drafting OT Broderick Jones and Anderson. That will bolster the starting five and by extension, the team’s depth to protect against inevitable injury.
Anderson has no guarantee to make the roster. No 7th-round pick does. But his ability to align anywhere gives him a leg up going into camp as he battles the likes of Ryan McCollum, Kendrick Green, and perhaps even Clark.