A Triumpth of “Position Flexibility” – Steelers Sign Trai Essex and Doug Legursky

You and I call it versatility.

Dictonary.com defines versatility it as: capable of or adapted for turning easily from one to anotherof various tasks, fields of endeavor.

Mike Tomlin simply calls it “Position flexibility.” The concept is simple, and ultimately a fundamental differentiator in the salary cap era:

  • The more positions you can play, the more you contribute, the bigger bang a team gets for its salary cap buck it invests in you

No one will ever accuse Trai Essex or Doug Legursky for being world-class athletes or even elite offensive lineman. But both men have position flexibility.

The Steelers picked Trai Essex in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft and since that time he’s played in 75 games. So far so good.

  • But normally, you project and expect a third round pick to develop into a stable starter.

Essex has failed to do that multiple times in his seven seasons with the Steelers. Before you write Essex off as a bust, the man entered the 2011 season capable of playing both tackle and both guard positons and in 2012 he added center to his bag of tricks when injures sidelined Doug Legursky and Maurkice Pouncy.

That’s a boast few NFL athletes can make, and its undoubtedly the reason why the Steelers signed Essex to a one year deal which bind him to the team for 8 years.

Doug Legursky Signs Restricted Free Agent Tender

Unlike Trai Essex, Doug Legursky’s phone did not ring on draft day. The Steelers signed him as an unrestricted rookie free agent in 2008. After spending the 2008 season on the practice squad, Legursky made the team in 2009 as a back up lineman.

Legursky saw some action at guard in 2009.

In 2010 he continued to practice at guard but also picked up center, and in the process helped make Justin Hartwig expendable. That year he started at guard a few times during the season and when injuries felled Maurkice Pouncey in the AFC Championship game, Legursky found himself starting at center in Super Bowl XLV.

Last season, Legursky started at both guard positions and also spent time starting at center.

Oh, and Legursky has also been known to line up at fullback on occasion.

  • That my friends, is position flexibility.

Today Legursky followed in Ramon Foster’s footsteps and signed his restricted free agent tender, binding him to the team for one more season.

The Steelers took a mild risk with Legursky, as they would have received nothing in compensation had a team signed him. But in the end their patience paid off because at 25 going on 26, Legursky’s still got some upside in him.

Thanks for visiting. Click here for the rest of Steel Curtain Rising or here to see our Steelers 2012 Free Agent Focus.

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