The clock is ticking towards the 2015 NFL Draft and Steel Curtain Rising’s evaluation of the Steelers 2015 draft needs continues, with center holding the focus of attention.
Analyzing Steelers Depth at Center – The Starter
Ray Mansfield. Mike Webster. Dermonti Dawson. Jeff Hastings. The Pittsburgh Steelers legacy yields nothing when it comes to center. Sean Mahan might not have proven able to the task, and even if Justin Hartwig did provide solid play during the Steelers run to Super Bowl XLIII run, the franchise went into the 2010 NFL Draft looking to get a blue chip player there.
- The Steelers of course drafted Maurkice Pouncey with their first round pick in 2010.
Pouncey won the starting job during the summer of 2010, and he has been named to the Pro Bowl in each season which he’s remained healthy enough to start.
Pounecy is also becoming a leader of the unit, and the Steelers signed Pouncey to a long term contract last summer, leaving no question as to where they see their future at the position.
Analyzing Steelers Depth at Center – the Back Ups
When Kevin Colbert went bargain shopping after the initial 2013 cut downs, one of the players he brought to Pittsburgh was Cody Wallace. But at the time, Wallace was seen as an insurance policy, a “nice to have.” Of course by season’s end, Wallace was starting, as the Steelers lost not one, but two starting centers in a single season.
- Wallace did well as a stand in starter, and the Steelers rewarded him with a contract in 2014.
Wallace appeared in 15 games in 2014 and started two, at guard, and did quite well. He’s a serviceable back up, and the Steelers certainly appreciate what that means after the 2013 opening day disaster.
Priority Status of Center for Steelers in 2015 NFL Draft
With Maurkice Pouncey set as the starter, and Wallace available as a capable back up the Steelers are pretty well set at the position, save for another uncanny 2013 like rash of injuries at center.
Steel Curtain Rising’s credo was, is and will remain “you can never have enough good offensive lineman.” You can’t. But the Steelers have two centers, which is more than they started 2013 with, and that should be enough. Should a tackle or guard who has the position flexibility present himself in the draft, then by all means the Steelers should take him.
But given the Steelers depth and their needs at other positions, drafting a pure center in 2015 is simply a luxury they do not have, and the priority status of center for the Steelers in the 2015 NFL Draft must be considered Low.