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OL 2014: Where does Velasco fit in?




While on first blush it sounds absurd to suggest there is any question as to what to do when Maurkice Pouncey returns next season, consider:

1) By all accounts, Velasco is playing very well at center. Terms like "above the line" and "no drop off " have been used to describe Velasco's play since replacing Pouncey. He has been grading out consistently well, especially as compared to the play at the tackle positions.

2) Velasco did not grade well as a Titan at the guard position. His play at guard factored into his release. Perhaps he could play better as a Steeler guard than he did with the Titans, but recall Doug Legursky's quality of play at center vs. guard. He played MUCH better at center for the Steelers than he did at guard. So there is precedent for the difference.

3) Pouncey has tremendous athleticism when healthy. He moves very well in space and is one of the few centers in the game capable of pulling. Dermontti Dawson-esque skills. Those skills should translate well to guard. His twin brother (now center with the Dolphins) played guard beside Maurkice in college.

So my question is, does Pouncey go back to center and we resign Velasco for depth, or is it possible that if you are looking to put your best five lineman on the field, should the Steelers look at keeping Velasco at center and seeing how Pouncey does at LG? That would allow Ramon Foster, the once utility back up (before current super sub Beachum), to play RT, or perhaps even look at him at LT if we don't fix that in the offseason (yikes!). I feel Velasco has played too well to let him walk away after this season. Even if he is a backup center only, I want him in black and gold in 2014. Thoughts?

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