With minicamp in the rearview mirror and training camp on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Steelers should already have all of the main components of their offseason roster in place, with all draft picks signed and no more free agents projected to be added until further evaluation.
It’s possible that a need should arise for further additions, either due to poor performance or injuries, once we reach training camp.
But for the time being, we should take a look at the depth chart that the front office has put together since the end of the 2013 season and see how well it stacks up in terms of quality and depth.
Due to the cumbersome lengths that offseason rosters can reach, we will be projecting a number or range of roster spots per position and focusing on that number of players per position, with other potential notables receiving mention below.
Projected Roster Spots: 4-5
Maurkice Pouncey: Returning to anchor the offensive line after missing all but eight snaps last season, Maurkice Pouncey should figure to provide a major lift to an offensive line that routinely struggled last season.
As much as many choose to believe that he can be—and, as they argue of last year, was—easily replaced by a journeyman type with little drop-off, it’s simply not true. The Steelers obviously don’t agree with that assertion either, as they extended his contract by five years despite signing one of those journeyman replacements to a three-year contract earlier in the year.
Get ready to see what it’s like to have two first-round talents in the middle of your offensive line.
David DeCastro: Last season was in many ways David DeCastro’s rookie season, for reasons that I’m sure don’t need to be elaborated upon. Perhaps he suffered a psychological blow after injuring his teammate, but his ascendance this year was preceded by a brief stretch of mediocrity that raised questions about whether or not he was capable of reaching his potential. He is over that now, and is heading for a Pro Bowl trajectory.
Ramon Foster: Now the sturdy veteran, Ramon Foster has been the rock, the one source of consistency for the offensive line through its transitions over the last few years. He proved that last season, as he helped ease the blow of losing Pouncey for the young unit with his steadiness and mentorship.
Cody Wallace: The Steelers picked up Cody Wallace just before the season began. A journeyman and career backup with not much more than a dozen regular season snaps to his name, despite pushing 30, not much was expected of him other than providing depth.
But he performed above expectations during the last month of the season taking over the center position—enough to earn himself some stability and security with a three-year contract back in the spring.
Others: As with the tackle position, rookie Wesley Johnson would obviously fit into this equation if he manages to earn a roster spot. Guy Whimper, also a reserve tackle, started two games at guard last season. The player to watch, however, might be Chris Hubbard, who spent all of last year on the practice squad. The guard received some work at center during training camp last season, and figures to do some more this year.