Found February 15, 2013 on
SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
The Steelers are going to have to figure out their starting offensive line for 2013. Four of the five starters are already being projected. Those players are Marcus Gilberts, Mike Adams, David DeCastro, and Maurkice Pouncey. The only open position on the line is left guard which is the spot the Steelers will have to fill this off-season.
Willie Colon started at left guard in 2012, but he is considered a potential cap casualty option for the Steelers who need to clear cap space this off-season. Ramon Foster is another option at guard, but he is a free agent and another team may be willing to give him more money than what the Steelers can afford. Foster’s skill level on the field and ability to play multiple positions will make him a valuable commodity on the open market.
Some, including myself, have projected Kelvin Beachum as the Steelers left guard for 2013, but that would be a big step for Beachum. In 2012 Beachum was forced into the line-up when Adams got hurt and he played well, but moving to guard and learning to pull is a tough task. There is also the fact that for him to move to left guard the Steelers would have to trust him enough to put him in their starting line-up and as of now there is no indication of what their plans are.
So what are the other options for left guard?
Maurkice Pouncey is the Steelers best offensive lineman and due to injuries in 2012 he played one game at left guard. Pouncey is also the Steelers most athletic offensive lineman and would fit very well as a guard in the zone blocking scheme. It would be an adjustment for Pouncey to learn to pull and get out into space as a guard, but there is no reason to think that he can’t do it.
Moving Pouncey would require the Steelers to find a center, but they may already have a starting caliber center in Doug Legursky. Legursky has played really well when he is at center, but struggles at times when he is at guard. Like Foster though, Legursky is a free agent so the Steelers will have to re-sign him for this scenario to play out.
However, like Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has said Legursky may have good enough tape at center to get another team to offer him a starting job. If that happens Legursky would likely leave in free agency, but if not perhaps the Steelers would bring him back and give him a chance to start.
The problem, of course, with this scenario is that to fix the problem the Steelers may be making another problem in the process if Legursky doesn’t play well enough at center. Pouncey is a three year starter and three year All-Pro at center so moving him doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it could be one of the better options the Steelers have for their line.
With left guard open the Steelers will have to make a decision on how to fill that position. Colon could be kept on the roster for another year if the Steelers decide to keep him around, but his mobility is not good enough to fit the style of lineman that new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. says he is looking for. Foster is also an option, but the Steelers would have to find a way to re-sign him and he would probably have to lose some weight and increase his athleticism this off-season to fit what the Steelers want.
If none of those options work out the Steelers may be forced to draft a starting guard in the 2013 NFL Draft. Chance Warmack, of Alabama, is the top guard in the draft, but it is unlikely he will fall to the Steelers at seventeen. If he does fall he could be an option for the Steelers and like with DeCastro last year there is always a chance a player will fall in the draft.
There are also a couple of players that could be around in the second round of the draft that could start for the Steelers at guard in 2013. Barrett Jones, also of Alabama, may be around in the second round. His ability to play all five positions on the line is something that would appeal to the Steelers with their history of offensive line injuries. Another option is Dallas Thomas, of Tennessee, who also has the ability to play multiple positions. The problem with these two is that, although they are very good players, they may struggle with pulling in the running game.
Heading into 2013 the offensive line will be one of the biggest question marks surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers. They possess a lot of youth and talent at the position, but placing that talent correctly and getting the most out of them as a group will be a challenge. It will be up to the five guys up front to keep Ben Roethlisberger healthy and help establish the run game. If they can do that the offense should see even better performances than the first half of the 2012 season.
The post Could Doug Legursky be the Steelers Starting Center in 2013? appeared first on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog.
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