Offensive Line: The Greatest Strength Of The Steelers In 2013?

By Jeremy Hritz

Sure, it’s early, and there are still three months to go until training camp kicks off, but that won’t stop us from discussing what position will be the greatest strength of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2013 season. While it is easy to say that quarterback is the best position on the team because of Ben Roethlisberger, the unit that will have the most potential to be dominant and to transform the team from 8-8 to Super Bowl contender is the offensive line.

In 2012, the offensive line struggled through a spate of injuries that disrupted any sense continuity. At some point or another during the season, every lineman of Max Starks and Ramon Foster missed at least one game, from David DeCastro, to Marcus Gilbert, to Maurkice Pouncey, to Willie Colon. While this hindered pass protection and a productive running game, it did provide opportunities for younger players such as Mike Adams and Kelvin Beachum to gain experience.

Now, heading into a fresh season, those younger players from a season ago have enough experience to compose an offensive line that can show great improvement.

Heading into next season, the young starting offensive line is shaping up as follows, from left to right: Marcus Gilbert (25), Ramon Foster (27), Maurkice Pouncey (23), David DeCastro (23), and Mike Adams (23). It was anticipated that Beachum would challenge for the starting left guard spot until Foster signed a new three year deal in March; however, his role this year will be the versatile plug and play lineman that will be the next man up in the event of an injury.

One question surrounding the offensive line is depth, being that there isn’t much at all outside of Beachum. Moving forward, the Steelers are hoping that John Malecki develops and that one of their undrafted rookie free agents emerges.

The greatest concern is that outside of Pouncey, none of these linemen are proven commodities just yet. Nevertheless, they have the potential to develop into outstanding players, as three of them (DeCastro, Adams, and Gilbert) were drafted no later than the second round, and Foster has demonstrated the adaptability to play both guard and tackle in a pinch. If they can live up to their potential and the promise that they had coming out of college, in addition to staying healthy, the offensive line could be the heart of the team.

For as long as Roethlisberger has been under center, outside of his first two seasons, he has not had the benefit of solid pass protection. Additionally, the running game has suffered over the past couple of seasons, yet this area too, bolstered by the addition of Le’Veon Bell, could experience a marked improvement as well. If those two areas progress as a result of the offensive line coalescing and operating at an optimal level, the Steelers will assuredly win more than eight games.

The key to the offensive line’s success will be avoiding the numerous injuries from a season ago, and if they can do that, they can stake their claim as one of the better offensive lines in football.

What do you think?

  • Michael Mazanowski

    As long as Gilbert doesn’t fall into the legs of the lineman around him it should be a good year!

  • Jason Brant

    I was going to say the same thing. Gilbert caused half of the o-line injuries.

  • SteelSpine

    Based on your shocking title I looked in it to find what case you would make that the Steelers OL is the greatest strength of Steelers, & I don’t see any case in the article for it. An OL has to prove something first, our OL has not proven anything yet. Sorry to put it another way but if now our OL is the greatest strength of a team, that says the rest of the team is bad. When our OL proves they can block, then great that’s when to consider something, otherwise paper champions. Here’s to hoping our OL will dramatically improve over last year.

    PS: Could some dude named Caleb Terbush become our 3rd QB? He was the best thrower at our rookie camp (according to Kaboly). He’s 6’5″ & didn’t cost us any draft pick. Same school that produced Drew Brees. Not that I’m overreacting heheh.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Gilbert needs to handle the bull rush more effectively. . .hopefully he was working out with Tom Shaw as well this offseason!

  • TJimmy

    He also injured Tim Tebow in college believe it or not

  • Michael Mazanowski

    More recently David Decastro and David Johnson!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    }:>) <

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    Those guys are soft!! We lost the most physical one when Colon was let go..You’ve never seen this group just manhandle any one upfront. Not even Pouncey. That being said MAYBE this new line Coach brings a new attitude and scheme.We use to have bullies upfront When “The Bus” was running the ball..This group isn’t made for that

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Rick…the Rickster….Rickorama! They will be a force to be reckoned with this year! There is a reason we didn’t draft OL this year!

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I think it has the potential to be the best part of the Steelers but that “IF” they stay healthy is the factor here.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    He did mention that they could be the greatest strength because they all are going to be healthy, and that they have all shown they have experience to make a difference. Not sure if you count all of that as a case for the article. Also everyone did prove individually that they can be great it’s just them getting healthy now.

  • Question: Which prospect, was better comming Out of college; DeCastro, Warmack or Cooper?

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Black and Yellow Black and Yellow Black and Yellow!

  • Chris Doakes


  • RW

    We need a backup center before I’m comfortable with your assessment.

  • SteelSpine

    You just just proved my case. Assuming every player will be healthy plus some of the projected starters on OLine have not proven anything yet when they were healthy.

  • charles

    Add the fellow from SanDiegoState and Golic jr. and add Starks and we have very good competition to keep 8 Olinemen. It is true that they have not produced ….yet. Further, I know it is easy to get excited about this years draft, they have not producd either… but I am starting to believe Colbert may be the best GM out there….

  • SteelSpine

    I think the reason we didn’t draft OL this year is we filled other needs, there aren’t enough picks to fill every need, something was going to have to be neglected in draft & gamble on what we already have there. It’s crossing our fingers that what we have for offensive linemen will be enough, meaning healthy & hope they improve. I completely understand why we didn’t draft OL this year.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Gilbert is a human wrecking ball hope he gets on the weights!

  • David Edward

    At the moment I’d say OL is one of the bigger question marks on the team. There’s no experienced LT. Gilbert seems to have trouble staying healthy, and has been iffy even when he is. Adams looked good run blocking but still needs much improvement in pass blocking. DeCastro looked good early, but then struggled at times when he returned from injury. Is Foster better suited for 6th man rather than starter? There’s potential that all of these can be overcome an they can be a strong unit, but there’s also potential that this could be a unit that struggles again in 13…hopefully it’s the former and not the latter.

  • Bill Bob

    They need someone good at picking ,coaching ,and finding offensive linemen then use every draft pick on OL next year because this could be the worst OL in the history of football. They all except for foster who sucks have a history of injuries every year they played pro ball. I’m hope they find a gem or two in the undrafted free agents.
    Why do you think last years OL coach took a Job coaching at Texas El Paso he saw the OL as garbage and wanted out.

    How many players does Gilbert have to fall on before they figure out he is not good to have on the team.I love the Rooney rule.

    I hope Bill comes back in a year or two. Dick Lebeau is the greatest

  • hergieburbur

    Scouts differ, and hyperbole abounds, but I have heard a few say that both Warmack and Cooper were better prospects than DeCastro. Though many of those same guys said last year DeCastro was the best OG prospect in nearly a decade, so take it for what it’s worth.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Brown and Orange Brown and Orange Brown and Orange! lol!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Good pt! !

  • ..and Pouncey