If Levi Brown is the answer, the question is even more troubling than previously realized

Jonathan Daniel

Brown appears to be roughly the older equivalent of Mike Adams, the tackle the Steelers recently benched. To his credit, though, he did play for Todd Haley for two years with the Cardinals.

So we're clear with this...if he's underachieving, injured, owner of a spotty-at-best track record and his previous team doesn't want him, he's a target for the Steelers at offensive tackle.

Indications are the Steelers are interested in Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown - the fifth overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. He was a force at Penn State and his future seemed paved with the fallen bodies of several defensive players, but he's barely even scratched the surface of his enormous potential.

This seems far more like a future write-up of when the Steelers would eventually release Mike Adams than it does the synopsis of another potential free agent target of the Steelers.

Except, it's more like both.

Adams aside, if the Steelers were to make a deal to bring Brown over from Steelers West, he would join Guy Whimper and D'Anthony Batiste as recent castoffs to join the roster for seemingly confusing reasons. Batiste never made it out of camp, and despite the chaos existing along the Steelers' offensive front there's barely a Whimper for Guy finding a place in the regular rotation.

With the team's recent announcement that Kelvin Beachum will start over Mike Adams, and after that, the presence of a rumor linking Brown to Pittsburgh, it doesn't seem like the Steelers are sold on him as a long-term solution this season, either.

Is Brown?

Rams defensive end Robert Quinn had three sacks in Week 1, all at the expense of Brown, who is coming off a torn triceps that ended his 2012 season. He was released by the Cardinals prior to that year, only to be resigned a few days later.

Translation: the Steelers are giving away at least a draft pick for what appears, through four games, to be an older, more expensive and more battered version of Adams. Is this the real direction here?

In 2011, the last time Brown played a full slate of games, Pro Football Focus rated him, almost scarily, smack dab between Whimper (-4.7) and Jonathan Scott (-13.7). He was the 57th overall ranked offensive tackle in the NFL.

Through four games this year, he's ranked 60th, at -5.8. Adams is 68th at -9.8, fourth-worst in the NFL for any tackle with 200 or more snaps.

The trade wouldn't be robbing Peter to pay Paul, it'd be like having Peter and Paul gang up, beat the tar out of the Steelers and leave them with two of the worst offensive tackles in the NFL.

It isn't clear what the going rate for such a transaction would be, but unless there's a double-secret 14th round, it doesn't seem like this would be an upgrade from their current depth chart.

Taking a step back, there is something to be said about the fact offensive coordinator Todd Haley has some experience with Brown, having coached him in Arizona his first two years there. Clearly, offensive linemen have not had a high level of success under former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians - now the Cardinals' head coach. Perhaps a change-of-scenery trade will net a positive result.

Even if the trade is never consummated, the fact the Steelers are looking for answers along their offensive line suggests they aren't giving up.

Maybe the question is more than we thought it was.

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