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A Changing of the Guard

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A Changing of the Guard

Troy Polamalu.  Hines Ward.  Alan Faneca.  Jerome Bettis.  Heath Miller.  For the past 20 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have seen tremendous talent in the locker room.  These players cemented themselves on every starting roster and contributed all they had to not only start, but perform at the highest level possible.  Then, as all things in life, their time came to an end and the Steelers were forced to find the “next (fill in player name here)”.  With the offseason departures of Matt Feiler, Maurkice Pouncey, and most recently David DeCastro, we find ourselves in that similar position.  Who will grow into the next best Steelers guard?

 

 

The Steelers have historically considered the offensive line, specifically interior offensive line, as a skill position.  To put this into perspective, in the last 20 drafts, the Steelers selected at least one offensive lineman in 17 drafts.  The only years they did not select any offensive linemen was 2003, 2013, and 2015.  As fans, we’ve been blessed with stability in the interior lineman positions; most recently from 2016 through 2019 with Ramon Foster, Pouncey, and DeCastro.  Of course, we’ve seen in-season injuries occur and other names earn starting roles, but for the most part, those three men remained a constant on offense.  The 2021 season will be the first since 2009 that none of those names will be on the starting roster.  That’s 12 seasons.

General Manager Kevin Colbert and Head Coach Mike Tomlin have pulled out all the stops in addressing the interior line positions so far this offseason.  So far, there is only one offensive guard listed as a starter; that being 2nd year man Kevin Dotson.  Behind him, we’ll find un-signed rookie Kendrick Green, B.J. Finney, Rashaad Coward, John Leglue, Aviante Collins, and recently acquired Trai Turner.  I think we can agree that the competition for the starting guard spot is very much open.   Assuming Dotson and Turner land the starting roles, I’d still expect to see Finney and Coward rotating in and out as well, along with Collins and Coward also.  Although there is uncertainty at the starting roles, there is definitely depth available.

 

 

After seeing tenured veterans leave the team, it is no doubt the offensive line in 2021 is going to look and feel different.  But if we’ve learned anything from past seasons, it is that the Steelers can still perform even with a “plug and play” offensive linemen strategy.  The Steelers are no strangers to injuries and adversity along the offensive line, and new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm will have his squad ready for the rebuild that will happen this season.

 

Who do you think will start at guard this season?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Growing up in Pennsylvania, the Steelers played a major role in my life. I have watched every game since 2001 and have an entire closet solely dedicated to Steelers jerseys. You can find me on Twitter at @TheBenSauce_duh and Instragram at @benmic_alien. I now live in the Charlotte branch of Steeler Nation. I can't wait to share my passion for all things Steelers with you!

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