Steelers Vs. Panthers: Non-Starting Offensive Linemen To Watch In Tonight's Preseason Finale

May 4, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks offensive linemen Kelvin Beachum (68) and David DeCastro (66) participate in drills during rookie minicamp and orientation. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The injury to Steelers RG David DeCastro kept the door open for a few offensive linemen on the fringe of making this year's team. It's not a huge opportunity, the probability of the Steelers keeping 10 offensive linemen instead of nine - which is common to start the year - isn't high, but it's there.

More than likely, Max Starks, Willie Colon, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, Marcus Gilbert; Mike Adams, Trai Essex, Doug Legursky and DeCastro will make the team, but with only Legursky to back up both guard positions for the foreseeable future, if the Steelers do keep just two quarterbacks - Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich - it seems plausible at least for the short-term to use the extra position on another offensive lineman.

Barnerburner predicted the extra position created with keeping two quarterbacks would go to keeping another linebacker - Adrian Robinson, in particular.

First, let's recognize the third quarterback hasn't been cut yet, but the theory is rooted more in creating an extra roster spot to help bolster a position thinned by injury than it is the lack of ability in either Charlie Batch or Jerrod Johnson.

If that is the case, it's possible they keep an extra linebacker, but having a deep back-up who can play along the interior offensive line seems more a priority. Granted, none of the proposed offensive linemen can cover kicks, and in wake of Stevenson Sylvester's injury (he's not likely to be available until Week 2), it's more likely they'd keep an extra linebacker for special teams, if nothing else.

That doesn't fix the lack of depth along the interior line, though.

One starting guard is already down. LG Willie Colon has played in one game in the last two years. C Maurkice Pouncey has missed four games in his two seasons in the league - three last year with injuries and illness.

One option is John Malecki, the University of Pittsburgh product who's fought the last two years for a spot on this team. Malecki was the player cut at the end of the chain of dominoes that started with the Steelers signing Starks to the active roster last season. The Steelers then released Scott, and cut Malecki from the practice squad to make room for Scott in October of last season.

Malecki is more of a pure interior offensive lineman than Scott is, which may be his biggest advantage. Experience with the team could give him an edge over the rookies Kelvin Beachum and Ryan Lee.

Beachum has the position flexibility Steelers coach Mike Tomlin loves in his back-ups, having already played guard and tackle this preseason. That's position flexibility, as in, he's played multiple positions. How good he's looked doing it is a different story. Beachum doesn't appear ready to contribute and the practice squad is likely for him.

Lee has proved himself to be a powerful and assertive player, but is limited athletically - not surprising for an undrafted small-school guy. He's been a story of camp, though, and is one to keep an eye on.

That brings the circle back to Scott, a 5th round draft pick out of Tennessee in 2010. Originally thought to be a tackle, Scott was given frequent reps at right guard last year, and failed to impress. He was added to the 53-man roster, probably as one of the last players to make it.

Scott won't be confused with Joe Thomas any time soon, but outside of a veteran signing (which isn't impossible, just unlikely), but he could be enough to provide enough in-game comfort to contribute due to injury. Having experience both inside and out helps his cause as well.

Watch what the team does with Scott tonight, as well as the other linemen lower on the depth chart. Their interaction in this game could be telling in regards to what Tomlin plans to do with his final roster, due to the league at 9 p.m. ET Friday.


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