Like many NFL teams the Steelers have gone to the top end of the draft to build their offensive line. When they opened the 2013 regular season four of their five starters on the offensive line were taken in the first two rounds of the draft. Center Maurkice Pouncey and right guard David DeCastro were first-round picks; tackles Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert were second-round selections. That has been the blueprint for many NFL teams in the past six years especially in 2013 when a record nine offensive linemen (five tackles three guards one center) were taken in the first round. And teams have not been reluctant to play their young linemen right away either despite the notion that many coaches and general managers think it is the toughest position to learn for NFL rookies. Of the 22 offensive linemen selected in the first two rounds since 2012 18 are starters heading into this weekend. That does not include two starters -- rookie guard Jonathan Cooper in Arizona and guard Amini Silatolu in Carolina -- who are on injured reserve. It also does not include Adams who lost his starting job at left tackle after a horrid performance against the Minnesota Vikings in which he allowed three sacks two additional quarterback hurries and prevented another sack with a holding penalty. He has been replaced for the game today against the New York Jets (3-2) by Kelvin Beachum or newly acquired Levi Brown who had been a starter in Arizona since his rookie season in 2007 right up until the time he was traded.
Steelers know uncertainty of drafting offensive linemen
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Oct 13