Steeler Nation , with the Pittsburgh Steelers beginning their 2013 training camp, there is one major question that needs to be answered. Where is the depth? The NFL season is a long grinding one . Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL. The top teams must have quality depth to continue winning.
Through the next three weeks of training camp and on through the pre-season the Steelers must find quality depth at many positions. Here Is a look at a few positions and some players who may be candidates for added depth.
Lets begin on the offensive line.The player in the lead by far for the 6th offensive line spot is Kelvin Beachum. Beachum has experience at guard , both tackle positions and has even began learning a little at the center position. After Beachum the back up plan becomes wide open.
One player that may be in the running is offensive guard John Malecki. This season is a make or break year for John Malecki. Malecki has spent three seasons on NFL practice squads and its now or never for Malecki.
The Steelers signed offensive tackle Guy Whimper this off-season . Whimper began his career as a fourth round pick of the New York Giants and recently played for the Jacksonville Jaguars . Whimper’s resume does not impress but he does have a history with line coach Jack Bicknell Jr.
Other interesting candidates include free agent rookies guard Nic Embernate, tackle Mike Golic Jr. and 2012 free agent pick up tackle Joe Long.
All three are pretty much unproven but this camp and pre-season should give one or more a chance to prove themselves.
Another position in need of depth is the safety position. There is very little known depth behind starters Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark. Gone are last season’s backups Ryan Mundy and Will Allen. The Steelers drafted safety Shamarko Thomas in the 4th round of the 2013 draft. He looks to have a good shot of being in the backup mix. Other players in the running are DaMon CromartieSmith an undrafted free agent pickup in 2010 and Robert Golden an undrafted free agent of 2012.
All three of these players have very little NFL experience and must prove themselves worthy of a game day roster spot.
At the corner-back position behind starters Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen the Steelers brought back William Gay and they have 2011 3rd round pick Curtis Brown . Brown must prove that he can stay healthy and play at a more consistent level. This could be his make or break season. The Steelers drafted Terry Hawthorne in round 5 of the 2013 draft and he may have a chance to make the 53 man roster. Another candidate is DeMarcus Van Dyke a free-agent pick up from 2012 with speed . Josh Victorian a 2012 free agent who actually started a game last season should also be considered. The corner-back position is a position that can never have too much depth.
The Steelers have very little proven depth at the inside linebacker behind Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote. Last season’s 3rd round pick Sean Spence is still recovering from a serious knee injury. Stevenson Sylvester has been a disappointment up to this point , must prove that he can stay healthy and play at a higher level. The Steelers drafted inside linebacker Vince Williams in the 6th round and he will have plenty of chances to prove himself. 2012 free agent pick up Marshall McFadden may also have an opportunity to provide depth
The Steelers are very thin behind starting nose tackle Steve Mclendon. Longtime Steeler NT Casey Hampton is gone for now but one has to wonder what happens if Mclendon goes down with an injury.There are no experienced players behind Mclendon. Alameda Ta’amu a 4th round pick from 2012 starts camp on the PUP list with an injured hamstring .Alameda Ta’amu has been a disappointment so far in his short Steeler career. The Steelers signed NT Hebron Fangupo late in the 2012 season but he has little NFL experience . He should get plenty of reps in camp.
Steeler Nation ,as you can see there is a lot of depth needed to be discovered before the season starts and it should all come clear in the coming weeks…The hunt starts now!