There are plenty of Steelers fans cheering right now and for good reason. The Steelers probably had the best break in the draft if you consider where they picked and the fact that didn't have to trade up. They got one elite player and another 1st round graded player, they also got a NT, that many believe could have gone in the second round, in the fourth. The LB is the only pick that concerns me and I love the Rainy pick up. Colbert was cool as the other side of the pillow holding a royal flush while others at the table are going all in with three pair. We all know and have heard about how good DeCastro means but how does that translate to tangible results for the Steelers? I'll list a couple after the jump.
1. The obvious way he helps is the Steelers is that it adds more quality depth to the line.
Going into the draft everyone knew that the Steelers needed offensive line help. But what was the scariest part is that the injury bug had been attacking the Steelers offensive line non-stop the past two seasons. Which made what was consider a weak offensive line even weaker. With DeCastroy (my nickname suggestion) that pushes a starter last year to the backup role. So even if the injury bug does strike again this year, we'll at least don't have to worry about someone who isn't as good as our starters last year coming in to be a speed bump.
2. Heath Miller can be used more in the passing game.
Last year Heath Miller had a huge dip in stats. Part of the reason is because he had to stay in and help block for the offensive line. This really limited the offense in the redzone. Having a big tight end to throw to helps the quarterback immensely. If Colon can stay healthy, (insert colon joke here) , then we should see miller going out on more passing routes. This allows the Steelers to be more of a threat when the defense condenses in the redzone and we should see miller stats improve some. It also should take pressure and attention off of Wallace and Brown and open things up for them as the defense has to pay attention to another threat in the offense.
3. The redzone offense should improve.
One of the real struggles for the Steelers offense was the redzone. We were the top 10 in yards but 21st in points. A better offensive line can help give the Steelers that extra push they need to convert first downs and touchdowns on the goal line. DeCastro will probably be ran behind a lot this year. That is one of the things Colbert mention in his press conference, how Standford love running behind him.
4. The Steelers should be able to close games out better.
Another issue of last year was being able to grind out a win. Many Steeler fans remember and miss those days when in the fourth quarter came around we knew what would happen. The offensive line and Jerome Bettis would just punish a tired defense into oblivion as we milked the time and got the win. It really wasn't fair. While we don't have a Jerome on this roster a better line should give the Steelers the opportunity to run the ball more at the end of the game if they have a lead. Opening holes and even just holding your ground on the defense and allowing the running to dive 2-3 yards into the pile is huge at the end of the game because it keeps the clock running and forces teams to use all of their timeouts on defense, which teams typically would want to save at least one timeout for their offense to have. The longer we have the ball in possession the more likely it is that the Steelers win.
5. The line should not get dominated.
Nothing breaks the flow of an offense than an offensive lineman getting completely dominated at the line of scrimmage and a sack or tackle for loss ensues. We all know Ben likes to hold the ball but he should have at least 3.5 seconds of a pocket to survey the field and find an open receiver. We also know that Mendy likes to dance but any running will be more effective without having to dodge defenders before they reach the line of scrimmage. Maybe we'll see less spins from Mendy, or those spins will be occurring at the second level, which is good.
This is all considering that the rash of injuries is over for the offensive line, but even if some injuries do happen, we should be able to withstand it better. Having a top level offensive line will be a new experience for the Steelers and this is assuming that Decastro will be everything everyone has said he will be. If Mike Adams proves to be the first round talent that he was projected to be the line gets even better. But that of course assumes that he is sincere about keeping on the straight and narrow in the pros. I don't think Adams will start right away but if he proves worthy we could see him start mid-season. The Steelers would then have the pleasure of having the issue of who to move inside, which I have no idea who would move inside. Colon has a tackle contract and would be expensive for a guard, plus never playing guard I don't know how that would pan out, gilbert has played guard before but the question would be would we really want a rookie starting at left tackle (ben's blindside and usually the opposing teams top rusher). So adams may have to make his bones at the guard position before he can be consider to move outside.
Either way a better offensive line has a ripple effect that will be felt in all phases of the team. In the passing game and running game, and even on defense. If the offense can possess the ball and grind out wins the defense will be that much better for that. I am very excited about the offense line and I hope that things go as plan and by mid-season we have an offensive line that consist of Gilbert- Adams- Pouncey - Decastro - Colon. I'm anxious to see what that would look like.