Every team and it's fans have to experience their beloved veterans leave or retire. It seems as if Steelers fans have had to deal with it the most the past two years. The good thing is before they do move on from their veteran, they give them time to develop the young fresh players that will eventually take their place and one day enjoy their own special place in the hearts of Steelers fans around the world.
Let's start with the one and only, the quarterback position. Now in no way am I saying that Landry Jones was drafted to replace Ben Roethlisberger, but wherever he goes in his NFL career, there is no better quarterback to sit back and learn from than big Ben himself. But I added him on this list because he is a young guy learning from a veteran.
On to the only other offensive position on this list, the tight end position. Heath Miller is one of the best in the business and he is a great mentor to David Paulson. I think David Paulson contributed a lot more than expected last year and if he improves this year, I think he can be considered an eventual replacement for Heath Miller. I also think Heath Miller will have a lot to do with his development and can't wait to see what he does this year.
Now to the many positions on defense on this list. Starting with the defensive line, Steelers fans have been spoiled with players like Keisel, Aaron smith and Hampton over the past decade. Now 2 of those 3 are gone and all 3 replacements are on the roster. For players like ziggy hood and Cameron Heyward, working behind Aaron smith and brett Keisel should definitely help their development. Aaron smith will be back this summer as a scout and he should continue to help. Now the NT position, big snack has anchored the defensive line for more than a decade, and his time in Pittsburgh as of now is over. Fans are anxious to see what Steve McClendon can do as a full time starter, but for an undrafted free agent, Casey Hampton definitely helped the development of the kid. I can't wait to see ziggy, Steve and Heyward anchor the line to see what they can have learned from their successors.
To the inside linebacker position, this may be surprising but rookie Vince Williams. I am rooting for this kid to make it and do great just because there is no other inside linebacker who really has a shot to take over for Larry foote. Larry foote did sign a 3 year contract, but I doubt he sees year 2 of it. Vince Williams has impressed so far, and being compared to Larry foote, why not sit back and learn from him. Larry foote has been a very successful Inside linebacker for the steelers and will be a good mentor for Vince Williams to learn from. He does nothing great, but does everything good.
The secondary is filled with players on this list. If there is a young cornerback in the league to model your game after, model it after Ike Taylor's. The man puts himself in the best shape possible and it pays off on the field. The young cornerbacks on the roster have definitely used Ike taylor as a mentor. Look at the success they have had. Keenan Lewis just signed a big contract and Cortez Allen is the future of the position. Both were not high draft picks, so they had to be developed. Hopefully Ike taylor can teach a thing or two to terry Hawthorne too, and if so, the cornerback position has a bright future for the steelers. The safety position also has 2 studs manning the position. Ryan Clark and Troy polamalu have been probably the best safety tandem in the entire NFL over the past couple years. It's about time for them to pass down their knowledge of being a great safety tandem to youngsters Robert golden and shamarko Thomas. The two look to be the eventual replacements for the 2 great safeties and there is really no one better to learn for . They each have characteristics of the other two, which makes it even better for them to learn from. Between the cornerback and safety positions, the steelers have left their young replacements in good hands, and don't forget that Carnell lake will be coaching them.
Last but not least, the punter position. Like I said in my project roster, I don't think Brian moorman was brought in to compete with drew butler, I think he was brought in to help develop him. Brian has been one of the most successful punters in the league in the past decade, but his career is coming to an end. Drew butler has tremendous upside, and with brian moorman as a mentor, he could have a long, great career with the Pittsburgh steelers.
So there you have it, let me know what you think!