Steelers highly drafted offensive line vs. draft day side note defensive line

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Steelers have drafted offensive and defensive linemen in the first round of recent drafts, but it was the grinders who got contracts this offseason. The disparity between the two makes for an interesting batting over the offseason workouts.

A shock lede...the Steelers have drafted heavily and highly along their offensive line in recent years. Two first-rounders (Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro), two second-rounders (Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams).

In that same time frame, more or less, the Steelers bolstered their defensive lines with late first-round picks spent on Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward.

Those who are last shall be first in the changing face of the Steelers' roster.

It was Steve McLendon and Ramon Foster, undrafted free agents, who got contracts this offseason.

Foster was among the first players the Steelers signed this offseason, and McLendon got a three-year deal after the Packers had McLendon in for a visit, forcing the Steelers to raise the pot. They had given McLendon a low-level contract in restricted free agency, one that did not carry with it any compensation if he was to leave for another team.

Brett Keisel, a former seventh round pick, continues to hold down one of those defensive end positions. Journeyman Al Woods, who was originally a fourth-round pick by the Saints in 2010, is getting reps behind McLendon. Hebron Fangupo, another undrafted defensive lineman, is competing with fourth-round pick Alameda Ta'amu for snaps and maybe even a roster spot.

Let the battle of the Had vs. Had Nots begin.

After a season or two, potential wears off. Highly touted prospects can make way to the grinders like Foster and Keisel. The grinders, regardless of where they are drafted, are the guys who get extensions.

The first-round offensive line and Foster vs. the afterthought defensive linemen and Hood and Heyward sounds like a battle with chips on lots of shoulders. It should make for a fun offseason program and training camp.

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