2017 Offseason Questions: Will Brian Mihalik Make The Roster In 2017?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Will Brian Mihalik earn a spot on the Steelers’ 53-man roster?

First of all, I would just like to apologize for my absence yesterday, for those who may have noticed. I was just a little bit more than under the weather, bedridden, in fact, and was unfortunately unable to contribute. I’m still recovering as of writing this, but at least I’m functional again to a degree. Now on to the topic at hand.

This may seem a bit early to be asking the question, but I think the situation with Brian Mihalik is an interesting one. He did after all end up on the 53-man roster when the Steelers needed another body along the offensive line due to Ryan Harris’ injury.

With Harris’ decision to retire, however, one does have to wonder if the Steelers would be considering addressing the backup tackle position in some way. Their current options there are Jerald Hawkins, who spent his rookie season last year on injured reserve, Chris Hubbard, and Mihalik.

Hubbard is as much an interior reserve as he is for the bookends, even though the only starts of his career by necessity came at right tackle last season. I wouldn’t imagine that they would have him as their top backup, and even so, they would probably want two more options.

Hawkins may be in line for that top backup position, but it’s a question mark due to his lack of experience. Mihalik up until about 14 months ago was a defensive end, however.

In fact, he never played offensive line at any level. The closest that he came was a bit of tight end in high school. So he is actually coming in even less experienced than Alejandro Villanueva was.

If I were penciling in a 53-man roster right now, Mihalik would make it by default as the ninth lineman, and perhaps the fourth-string tackle behind Hawkins and Hubbard. But one has to wonder if they’re not contemplating improving this position before the start of the season.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • pittsburghjoe

    If he can develop at a quick pace, the chances are good if the coaches think his ceiling is high. If his ceiling is back up level, then his position is in jeopardy. His size is a big asset.

  • steelburg

    Although both Finney and Hubbard are tabbed as guys who can bump in and play center I don’t think either one is very competent at playing the position. When Pouncey went down Code Wallace filled in and did a solid job I think we need to address that back up center spot. I think the team should retain Wallace for another year continue to work both Finney and Hubbard at center for another year and and keep Mihalik on the practice squad. That leaves our 5 starters Finney, Hubbard, Hawkins, and Wallace. I like those 4 on the backend rather then having 2 guys like Mihalik and Hawkins who are really just backup tackles. Wallace, Finney, and Hubbard are capable at multiple positions.

  • Boots

    Hope you get better asap! I do believe he makes it barring another injury.

  • VaDave

    I’m thinking even if he is improved significantly, he’s going to be a tough but inevitable cut.

  • Conserv_58

    I spent five days at camp last summer and my opinion of what I saw of Mihalik is not good. He’s the same height as AV at 6′ 9″. Being that he, like AV, was switching positions it certainly showed. He looked lost on most of the snaps he took. He was getting beaten repeatedly and found himself out of position. He was late to pick up his man and then would be picking himself up after either tripping over someone’s feet or by getting shoved to the ground. He stood too tall thus allowing the defender to get his hands into his pads and move him backwards. When the Steelers announced their final 53 I was shocked to see Mihalik’s name because I couldn’t understand what coach Munchak saw in him to want to keep him on the roster.

  • stan

    I think its likely that they’ll be adding an offensive lineman in the late rounds of the draft. At worst he’s camp competition and he gets stashed on the practice squad. If there’s an injury or Mihalek doesn’t progress, then he’s the 9th offensive lineman.

  • LucasY59

    he didnt make the initial 53, he was practice squad, then signed off the PS by the Lions(? could be another team, but Im pretty sure he was poached at one point) then they released him and the Steelers added him to the roster after Harris went on IR (think there was a week in between were Feiler was on the roster)

    they did keep him on the roster through the rest of the season so I think whatever Munchak saw he liked, and I think there is a good chance he makes it as the final OL on the roster again

  • LucasY59

    Hope you are feeling better soon Matthew,

    I think there is a very good chance he makes the roster, he was the final guy last yr and Harris retired, they will have Hawkins as the main swing tackle and are most likely bringing Hubbard back as well, but Mihalik could be the final OL on the roster (and a game day inactive)

    I think the Steelers/Munchak must like him since they lost him at one point last season and brought him back (Injury to Harris made it necessary to bring him back on the roster, but even if he wasnt needed on the roster, I would think he wouldve been signed to the PS)

    I think he has had a full yr to transition/Develop like Villanueva did previously and I think he should have a pretty decent training camp (he should be a #2 OT opposite Hawkins on most 2nd team snaps)

    I doubt they draft an OL or bring in a FA so unless a UDFA does really well to take his spot, he should have the inside lane to the last OL roster spot (a Center like Mathews of Friend that they brought in as Futures signings have a shot as well, but I think they would value a OT higher, and either of those two guys could end up on the PS)

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m not worried about Finney at center based on the Browns game. Center is his natural position and he looked fine there throughout the past two preseasons.