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Let's not forget about Steelers OG Nik Embernate

"Embernasty" lost his rookie year to a knee injury but should enter Phase 1 (workouts and conditioning) of OTAs as a candidate for the 53-man roster.


The Steelers' 2013 draft netted them four players who filled significant roles last season. They aren't the only ones to focus on, however. Several players from the past few drafts have been developing over the last few seasons, and this is look at those players.

Offensive Guard Nik Embernate
Undrafted free agent, 2013

"Embernasty" was the pride of the 2013 UDFA class - a player many expected the Steelers to draft at some point last season. A powerful interior lineman, many hoped he could be groomed to eventually take over the left guard position in what looks like an emerging multiple-scheme running game that would emphasize zone but include power concepts as well.

Embernate suffered a knee injury during training camp and missed the 2013 season. This was a blessing in the sense it allowed for a redshirt year to help him develop the mental aspects of the game while protected on the Steelers' roster. He would have been a long-shot to make the team, although it wouldn't have been impossible for him to do so.

Come minicamp this year, Embernate is perhaps the most intriguing player to watch. While the five starters on the offensive line are set (at least in some combination of Kelvin Beachum, Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert, with a platooning Mike Adams), the players who will add depth to those positions will be the victors of a hard-fought training camp battle.

Figure Embernate to make his mark in that battle. The obvious difference between the first year player and the second is the mental aspect of the game, and Embernate has an elevated sense of that now, as opposed to any rookie interior lineman who may come in via the draft or UDFA.

The Steelers have three-position veteran Cody Wallace for interior line depth, but it's not out of the question the Steelers keep a second swing guard to help bolster the unit for the future. Embernate has to be considered a favorite for that spot as the team kicks off Phase 1 of Organized Team Activities Tuesday.