So early reports out of Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp have included glowing commentary on right tackle Willie Colon. The former 2006 4th round draft pick out of Hofstra has not exactly been a fan favorite amongst Steelers Nation - as I'm sure I don't need to remind you.
Before I carry on, let me just quickly say that I think any statement that Colon is the best right tackle in the league is a bit hyperbolic - to say the least. In fact, not one week will go by in the 2009 season where Colon won't be outclassed at right tackle. That will happen when the Steelers host the Tennessee Titans and LaMarr Woodley goes up against David Stewart of the Titans. That said, I do think it's unfair for Steelers fans to completely write Colon off because he has struggled at times in his first years in the league. One must remember where he comes from - the Bronx, N.Y. and Hofstra College. That's not a hotbed for football talent. And I think it's fair to say that Colon has had some catching up to do - on the fly mind you - since being exposed to legitimate NFL talent day in and day out for the first time in his life.
It's worth repeating that Colon has been learning on the fly. And he deserves a tip of the cap his durability thus far in his short three year career. Colon has started all 16 games in both 2007 and 2008, as well as all four of the team's playoff games during that time span. That's a decent chunk of experience now under his belt from which he should be able to draw upon moving forward.
So, the 26 year looks good in camp so far according to tweets from Jim Wexell and from the initial wave of columns coming off the press. Say it isn't so? We'll see. But I think it's fair to say that it's quite possible that we've seen the worst of Willie Colon and that the best of his career is very much ahead of him. For his sake and for the sake of the team and us fans, I sure hope so.