Most mock drafts have the Steelers selecting an offensive lineman or a cornerback with their first pick, mainly because those are the two positions that are viewed as their biggest needs. The offensive line has been a talking point for several years now and yet the Steelers haven’t used many early picks on the position (obvious exception: Maurkice Pouncey in 2010). Since 2005 the Steelers have selected just three linemen on the offensive side of the ball in the first three rounds: Pouncey, Trai Essex and Kraig Urbik.
With that in mind, I was curious to see where all of the NFL’s starting linemen in 2010 were selected in the draft, and which rounds produced the most players at each position. After going through every team, here are the results. The players counted as “starters” are simply the players that started the most games at the position. For example: Jonathan Scott goes in as the Steelers starting left tackle.
|2010 NFL Starting Offensive Linemen By Round|
Here’s a similar breakdown, only this time looking at teams that made the playoffs in 2010.
|2010 NFL Starting Offensive Linemen By Round: Playoff Teams|
The Steelers ended up starting one first-rounder (Pouncey) and a second-rounder (Flozell Adams, selected by Dallas) to go with a fifth-rounder (Jonathan Scott), a sixth-rounder (Chris Kemeaotu), and an undrafted free agent (Ramon Foster) for the majority of their games.
The only spot on the line league-wide that has a decisive advantage in the first round is left tackle. That’s not much of a surprise since it’s usually regarded as the most important spot on the line and, in most cases, the position responsible for protecting the quarterback’s blind side (unless your quarterback is a lefty).
Many guards, especially those that play the right side, aren’t even drafted.
After seeing this does it change your opinion of what the Steelers should do in April? Obviously a lot of depends on which players are available at each position, and it’s just too far in advance to know that.
I don’t hate the Steelers tackle situation assuming everybody is back and ready to go (Max Starks and Willie Colon. Perhaps Flozell Adams if he’s not released) so I can’t see reaching for a player at a position that probably won’t be starting anyway. Plus, I’ve been pretty vocal in my belief they should take the best player on their board regardless of position. The Steelers may not have that many needs for this upcoming season, but they do have some players getting a little long in the tooth. If, for example, the second- or third-best nose tackle grades out higher than the eighth- or ninth-best offensive tackle when you are on the clock, don’t take offensive tackle just because he represents a greater need.