The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason continues on and we will continue today with our breakdown of the free agents as we inch closer towards the start of free agency. Next up on the list of unrestricted free agents is center/guard Doug Legursky.
Player: Doug Legursky
Experience: 4 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2012 Salary Cap Hit: $1,260,000
2012 Season Breakdown: Legursky was a restricted free agent last offseason and easily retained with a right of first refusal tender of $1.26 million. The season got off to a rocky start for the Marshall product in the season opener against the Denver Broncos as he gave up 2 sacks, 2 hits and 4 pressures at right guard in relief of Ramon Foster, who was forced from the game with an eye injury.
Legursky would not see action again until Week 6 against the Tennessee Titans. In that game he replaced the injured Maurkice Pouncey at center after the first play from scrimmage. He pass protected much better in that game, but his run blocking was below average. With Pouncey still sidelined Legursky received his first start of the season the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals and played his best game of the season.
When Pouncey returned Legursky was back on the sideline until Week 12 when he started at left guard against the Cleveland Browns in place of the injured Willie Colon. In that game he allowed a sack of quarterback Charlie Batch which resulted in right tackle Mike Adams suffering an ankle injury that would ultimately sideline him for the rest of the season. The following week against the Baltimore Ravens Legursky started again at center as Pouncey was forced to start at left guard with Colon still sidelined. It was the second best game of the season for the Steelers utility interior lineman.
Legursky was forced into action again against the San Diego Chargers in Week 14 after Colon suffered his season ending knee injury early in the game. He played center as Pouncey was again shifted over to left guard. The Steelers interior line had a poor game recognizing the Chargers looks and Legursky allowed several pressures in the blowout loss.
In the season finale against the Browns Legursky was forced into action yet again as he replaced Foster at left guard after he was forced to switch sides and play right tackle after Kelvin Beachum left the game with a concussion. Outside of being flagged for holding in the game it was a so-so performance.
Legursky is an average backup center in the league and a liability at both guard positions. He struggles with the swim move while at guard and his short arms allows defenders to get inside his chest too often. While he is still mobile with his short area quickness he struggles to get off blocks in close quarters. He does, however, understand the offense and is great at making his line calls when playing center.
Free Agency Outlook: Now that new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. is on board Legursky will have his game film from last season heavily scrutinized. His game experience and ability to play center will not go unnoticed, but is ineffectiveness at the guard positions might be too big of a liability to overlook.
Legursky will be allowed to test the free agent waters and it is hard to tell how he will be received. Once again, his ability to play center is his only redeeming quality so it is hard seeing him getting offered much more than a minimum contract by another team. The Steelers might be ready to go in another direction and that will be dictated by what happens in the draft first and foremost. There has been some talk about Beachum possibly learning the center position and John Malecki, a younger version of Legursky, is also currently under contract for 2013.
At this point in the offseason I would say that Legursky has about a 35% chance of returning in 2013 on a one-year contract for the minimum.
Other 2012 Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis
Charlie Batch – Unrestricted Free Agent
Casey Hampton – Unrestricted Free Agent
Plaxico Burress – Unrestricted Free Agent
Larry Foote – Unrestricted Free Agent
Byron Leftwich – Unrestricted Free Agent
Will Allen – Unrestricted Free Agent
Max Starks – Unrestricted Free Agent
Greg Warren – Unrestricted Free Agent
Leonard Pope – Unrestricted Free Agent
Brandon Johnson – Unrestricted Free Agent
Rashard Mendenhall – Unrestricted Free Agent
Ramon Foster – Unrestricted Free Agent
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