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Steelers Think Tank: How important is position flexibility?

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Mike Tomlin loves players who can play multiple positions, but how important is it?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the BTSC Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Think Tank’. Here is where there will be a general question asked, and the answer will be hashed out in the comment section below the article. Unlike in the Friday Night Six Pack, and other articles which are banking on fan responses, this is just one topic to discuss.

In this first edition of the Think Tank, I ask you about position flexibility.

Every year Mike Tomlin raves about how the more positions you can play, the better your chances of making the team are. This is a no-brainer to even the novice football fan, but how important is position flexibility?

Let’s look at some examples:

The player everyone rages about right now, regarding position flexibility, is Northern Illinois product Sutton Smith. Smith, who played tailback in high school, has practiced at both inside and outside linebacker, as well as full back. Quite the feathers in his cap.

Seventh round draft pick Derwin Gray has been practicing not only at tackle, but tackle and guard — on both sides of the center.

Jaylen Samuels was considered a Swiss Army Knife type player coming out of N.C. State. He can play tailback, full back, line up at tight end and even H-back.

B.J. Finney is an offensive lineman with tremendous flexibility. His positional flexibility helps him not only remain the primary backup to Maurkice Pouncey, but also both Ramon Foster and David DeCastro at both guard positions.

I could go on, but you can clearly see how many players on the Steelers’ roster are players who can play multiple positions, those might be in just emergency situations, but have the flexibility to do so if called upon.

The one thing I can’t get through my mind is the old saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Sure, a player like Finney has enough experience to play both center and guard adequately, but what about a player like Sutton Smith? Would he benefit more from focusing on one position rather than three? Clearly Smith isn’t going to tell the coaching staff no when asked to play other positions, but the coaching staff has pulled back on players in the past. The most recent example was when Sean Davis was a rookie and the Steelers decided to not play him at slot cornerback, but have him focus on safety instead.

So, with that said, what do you think of position flexibility? Is it paramount to the creation of a 53-man roster? Or is it over-hyped? Let us know in the Steelers Think Tank, or as we like to call it the comment section below.