That was something. I was at Radio City Music Hall for all 253 picks and while Thursday and Friday couldn’t have gone better for the Steelers (I was calling for them to trade up for DeCastro before the Bengals got their dirty mitts on him), after about four hours into Saturday’s action, I felt like I was at a casino and I couldn’t find the door.
Still, I ain’t complaining. We’ve whinged for years that the Steelers neglected the offensive line. I originally bought into Tomlin’s “there are two ways to protect the passer” philosophy, convincing myself that surrounding Ben with skilled playmakers would be just as effective as the more conventional approach of, you know, actually protecting the franchise’s best player.
Well, now we got our wish, which brings me to this: what’s the offensive line look like next season? I know Tomlin said that DeCastro isn’t guaranteed to start and that, as it stands, it’s a right guard. That’s all well and good, but what about Marcus Gilbert? He played right tackle for most of last season and with Max Starks a free agent (and he almost certainly won’t be re-signed now), Gilbert was set to move to the left side. Is that still the plan? I ask because there’s no Steelers mock draft that had them getting both DeCastro and Mike Adams with their first two picks without having to trade up.
But now that both are in the mix, what about this lineup, from left to right : Adams, Colon, Pouncey, DeCastro, Gilbert. (There are variations on this theme, of course: Colon at RG, DeCastro at LG; Colon at RT, Gilbert at LT, Foster or Legursky at G, Adams learns by watching; etc… And, yes, I know, I’m projecting Colon inside even though it’s never happened. Apologies in advance.)
I questioned what Art Rooney was up to back in January when he said that Ben needed to tweak the way he played. If I knew he meant that “tweak” was code for “have better blockers in front of him” I would’ve kept my mouth shut.
As it stands, the Steelers have taken the risk-averse approach to Tomlin’s “protecting the passer” theme. Not only do they have the makings of a really good offensive line, they have some of the best skill position players in the league. And that list now includes fifth-rounder Chris Rainey, the type of player Houston talk radio host and draft brainiac Lance Zierlein suggested Todd Haley might be interested in.
And only three months till training camps start!
To kill time, feel free to give me your starting o-line in the comments.