The Pittsburgh Steelers have put a great investment into their offensive line over the years. First round picks, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro and second round picks Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert are the big name players along the line, and 7th round pick Kelvin Beachum and undrafted Ramon Foster make up the rest of the line which has been improving by leaps and bounds under Mike Munchak.
This unit was set to have a promising 2015, but injuries have certainly de-railed such plans. Maurkice Pouncey was lost with a broken ankle in a meaningless preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, and Kelvin Beachum was lost for the season during the Arizona Cardinals to a torn ACL. Despite Cody Wallace and Alejandro Villanueva filling in admirably, it is impossible to think there won't be a step backwards for this once promising group.
Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 NFL offensive lines, and the Steelers found themselves ranked 12th. See what they had to say about Pittsburgh being ranked in the top half of the NFL teams:
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (13th)
Pass blocking rank: 5th
Run blocking rank: 20th
Penalties rank: 23rd
Stud: You don't normally mention the name of Ramon Foster (85.8), but he's playing at a really high level now.
Dud: It's hard to replace a talent like Maurkice Pouncey. Cody Wallace (32.6) is really confirming that.
Summary: Injuries have the potential to cripple this line, which is a real shame, because over the years, the Steelers have done a tremendous job acquiring talent.
The Steelers, as a whole, have been abiding by the "next man up" philosophy, and the offensive line is no different. Despite losing key pieces of the puzzle, the team and coaching staff have been able to put together a patchwork line capable of winning football games.
Enough can't be said about the job Munchak has done with this group. Not only has he been able to prepare back ups to play winning football, but he has helped keep the pass rush off Ben Roethlisberger and open up running lanes for Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams. The ranking seems to be just right for this unit, but without the injuries this offensive line could certainly be listed in the Top 10.
Pro Football Focus' Top 10 Offensive Lines: