With each Big Board article this spring, the BTSC Big Board crew will be publishing a second article complementary to that respective portion of the big board. This week, we are going over the interior offensive line and whether or not the Steelers will want to draft that position in April.
If you have thoughts as to whether or not the Steelers should draft an interior offensive lineman, let us know in the comment section below. Let’s see what our resident draft analysts have to say.
Ryland B.: This seems to be a fairly obvious “yes,” although I suppose this could be a position the team would rather pursue in free agency. I see the interior offensive line similarly to how I see quarterback — even if the Steelers have the patience to give the current depth chart another chance at starting, it would be completely irresponsible to not bring in some quality competition.
Tyler Linderbaum would be hard to pass up if he’s available at the Steelers’ first round pick, especially if the top quarterbacks and corners are already off the board. I understand the concerns regarding his size, but I strongly suspect that Kendrick Green’s poor performance last season as a smaller center magnified what isn’t really a massive red flag in Linderbaum’s scouting profile. Of course Linderbaum isn’t a completely safe pick — no one is — but he’s shown more than enough to warrant a first round pick and would be a surefire upgrade over Kendrick Green his rookie year.
There’s also some prospects at both center and guard I’d be happy with in the middle rounds, particularly Sean Rhyan, Thayer Munford, and Ed Ingram. There’s some interesting free agents who could be available at these positions as well.
Currently, not one of the Steelers current interior offensive linemen, including Kevin Dotson, instill a ton of confidence as starters in 2022. In the end it doesn’t really matter whether it’s through the draft or free agency, but I’d like to see the Steelers bring in at least two or so quality interior offensive linemen this season to compete for starting spots.
Andrew Wilbar: At this point, I believe the answer is not yes or no. It is “how many?”. I am a big proponent of grabbing either Lecitus Smith on day two or Tyrese Robinson on day three. Both would be tremendous schematic fits, and neither would cost as much as Zion Johnson, who would likely be a late first or early second round target. At center, I would prefer signing Mason Cole or Brian Allen in free agency to solidify the position rather than drafting one, because the center class overall is incredibly weak after Tyler Linderbaum, who will most likely be gone before the Steelers pick at 20. But to answer the question, yes, the Steelers must draft some sort of interior lineman.
Pittsblitz56 - Despite how the majority of the fan base feels about the first year Center, I do not expect the Steelers to give up on Kendrick Green. It’s just not how they operate. I do believe they will add some talent on the inside to help bring the young man around. There is some talent in this year’s draft but I think a veteran would bring more to the table in this instance. Now if an Ikem Ekwonu OT/G from NC State would happen to fall to the Steelers pick at 20 I would not hesitate. I would even consider trading up to around 15 if he fell that far.
Necksnation: Barring multiple big moves between now and the draft, interior offensive lineman should be the top priority for the Steelers come draft day. Right now, center is arguably the biggest hole on the Steelers’ roster, with Kendrick Green struggling at the position as a rookie. Green may be best suited for guard in the NFL, which makes center a top priority for the second offseason in a row. While I’d prefer for Green to move over to guard, I’m afraid that he might wind up spending another season at center, so guard is a priority in the draft as well. The good news is that this year’s class features the best center prospect we’ve seen in a while in Tyler Linderbaum. The bad news is that as a whole, the IOL class doesn’t have good depth, and although there are some solid guards who are worthy of being picked in the first few rounds, the center class is weak behind Linderbaum. Although centers are rarely taken in the top half of the first round, Linderbaum has the potential to be selected in the top ten, and it is unlikely that he falls to the Steelers’ pick at 20, which puts them in a bit of a bind. Similar to Christian Darrisaw last year, Linderbaum is a guy who I wouldn’t mind moving up a few spots for if it cost a mid round pick, and if he falls to 20, I expect Kevin Colbert to run to the podium for him. However, if Linderbaum doesn’t make it past pick 16, things get more complicated. Depending on what free agents are still available, the Steelers could snag Kenyon Green at 20 and sign a veteran center such as Mason Cole who may slip through the first major waves of free agency. Alternatively, they could attempt to trade down and take Zion Johnson with a later first rounder, but it’s unlikely given the team’s historical tendency not to trade down. On Day 2, I wouldn’t mind someone like Darian Kinnard or Sean Rhyan at pick 52. As I mentioned earlier, if no major free agent signings are made, the Steelers absolutely must draft a center or guard in one of the first two rounds. As a whole, the offensive line hasn’t been properly addressed in the draft for a while, and this is a year where they have to spend a high pick on a lineman. If they do sign someone such as Ryan Jensen in free agency, that certainly lessens the need, but it would still be worth using a day three pick on a developmental guard or center who could eventually become a starter. I really don’t see a realistic scenario where interior offensive lineman isn’t a position that should be targeted in the draft, and I expect the Steelers to act accordingly when they are on the clock.
Do you think the Steelers should acquire a quarterback this offseason? If so, when and how should they do it? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll and commenting down below.
How should the Steelers acquire a new interior offensive lineman this season?
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Don't draft/sign an interior offensive lineman