Its still early, but those hopes already appear to be in vain, as offensive lineman Nik Embernate of San Diego State went down at St. Vincents. Dan Gigler of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described it form the scene:
UFA Embernate from SD St. carted off w/ serious potential leg injury
— Dan Gigler (@gigs412) August 1, 2013
During the Mike Tomlin era no position has been the subject for more turmoil for the Pittsburgh Steelers than offensive line. In and effort to change that, the Steelers have invested heavily in rebuilding their offensive line in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 NFL Drafts, with the picks of Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, and David DeCastro.
- Alas, by mid-season 2012, Mike Tomlin again was forced to play plug and patch, and musical chairs on offensive line again became the norm as the team’s playoff chances faded away.
In spite of that, the Tomlin along with Kevin Colbert chose to risk the wrath of the injury gods and did not select a single offensive lineman with their 9 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.
They did however, include quite a few offensive lineman in their 2013 undrafted rookie free agent class. For other franchises that might be a ho-hum observation, but not in Pittsburgh.
Kevin Colbert has had an uncanny knack for striking gold in the undrafted rookie free agent pool. And Colbert has done particularly well with undrafted rookie free agent offensive lineman, with Darnell Stapelton, Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster starting in Super Bowls for the Steelers.
While Mike Golic Jr. grabbed everyone’s attention when joined as rookie free agent, many felt that Nik Embernate had better long-term prospects.
If the reports of the injury’s severity are confirmed, those prospects might have to wait until another summer…..