PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Tavaris Jackson #7 of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by Steve McLendon #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on September 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Seahawks 24-0. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
A highly underrated cog of last year's top-ranked scoring defense, most media pundits point to two things regarding the Steelers' defensive line in 2012; the health of Casey Hampton (whom McLendon replaced for much of last season) and the 4th round selection of NT Alameda Ta'amu (the guy McLendon is likely to beat out for Week 1 starting honors).
SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber is the latest to forget about McLendon, as he ranked the Steelers' defensive line 15th in his running feature on top positional rankings in the NFL.
As Hampton continues his rehabilitation from a torn ACL suffered in January, McLendon remains poised to occupy the starting position. Defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel are likely the starting defensive ends, with Cameron Heyward providing depth.
Granted, the Steelers' front three does not compare - right now - to San Francisco's power unit, but as many fans will argue, no one's team should have a defensive positional unit rank in the middle teens when that defense led the NFL in scoring.
It's up to them to prove it wrong.