clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Five spots to address in five days: Odds of the Steelers taking an offensive tackle at 15

As of Sunday, the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft is five days away. The tackle position has youth and experience, which isn't exactly the common combination of traits suggestive of a need to draft someone, but are they the right players?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

We believe the best way to build a football team through the draft is to select players, not positions. The subgroup needs to be addressed, however, and we've tried to mix the two philosophies together to drill down the contenders for the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft

We're eliminating quarterback, running back, interior offensive line, safety and anyone who's primary function is to kick the ball.

Outside of that, the remaining positions are considered, to varying degrees, open for the team to select in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Previous: Outside linebacker

At No. 4, offensive tackle

The Steelers have addressed the tackle position often enough a casual observer might think it's a season-ticket holder. That's how former second round pick Mike Adams looked for the four games he started at the beginning of the season. Marcus Gilbert has done an adequate job on the right side, confirming his second-round status in 2011. But the fact Kelvin Beachum is the team's best left tackle, and he was trained to play along the interior, suggests the team really needs a bookend protector.

Why the position needs to be addressed

The Steelers' shortened passing game came to life last year over their final eight games. Credit deserves to be given to Beachum's improvement as well as contributions from Adams and Gilbert, and outstanding play from right guard David DeCastro. Will that hold up now and into the future?

Gilbert is in a contract year, as is center Maurkice Pouncey. DeCastro, Adams and Beachum have two seasons left on their rookie deals. It's a safe bet DeCastro will be inked long-term, and perhaps Beachum as well, due to his versatility. But Gilbert is a question mark. The Titans signed Michael Oher to a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason, boosting a market for Gilbert's services next season. Considering the situation the team is in cap-wise for next year, Gilbert can't be seen as likely to be retained.

Who are the candidates?

Michigan's Taylor Lewan has teetered in the minds of some between the early to mid teens, and of the big three tackles in this draft - Auburn's Greg Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Lewan - he appears the most likely to fall to 15.

Those odds are extremely low, however, meaning if the Steelers were to grab a tackle in the top 15, it would most likely be Notre Dame's Zack Martin, a decent and versatile tackle with decent athleticism.

Martin would be the first offensive tackle the team has taken in the first round since Jamain Stephens in 1996. Most Steelers fans will remember how well that worked out for the Steelers.