During his pre-game press conference last Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the team's recent decision to sign offensive lineman Cody Wallace and if his ability to play center was the difference in bringing him in, and the reason why John Malecki was waived to make room for him.
"Really, it's the chief reason why he's here," said Tomlin. "He's a known commodity from a professional football standpoint in terms of snapping the ball. He's also guard capable, but this is a guy that was a three-year starter at Texas A&M as a center and has been in the league and on several different teams in that capacity. He's a sharp guy; he's got good quickness, and we believe he's going to be a positive asset to our football team."
Now that the Steelers have lost starting center Maurkice Pouncey for the season due to a serious knee injury suffered early in the Sunday loss to the Tennessee Titans, one would think that Wallace will now be the one to take over moving forward instead of second-year offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum.
While Beachum should certainly be commended for his efforts over the ball against the Titans in relief of Pouncey, you could definitely tell that it is not his natural position. While Beachum is currently a jack of all trades along the offensive line, he is a master of none of them right now. Is that his fault? Absolutely not, as I fully expect he will only get better at multiple positions over time. Time, however, is something the Steelers don't have right now when it comes to the SMU product needing to develop more over the ball.
When the Steelers take the field next Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, they will face a defensive line that is full of known commodities, and that includes Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. Expecting Beachum to handle either is unfair and a losing proposition, and thus the reason why Tomlin will have no choice but to find out just how much of a known commodity he has in Wallace, a former three-year college starter at center.