Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Big Ben = Bus Meat in 2008

All the talk has got me thinking (more) about the offensive line. I'm pretty sure Maxie Starks signs the offer sheet because I can't imagine another team paying him close to $7 million a season. I could be wrong, of course.

But assuming he hangs around and wins the right tackle job, and the Steelers bump Willie Colon inside, here's what we're looking at right now:

LT: Marvel Smith, Essex
LG: Kendall Simmons, Kemoeatu
C: Hole in line, Darnell Stapleton, Sepulveda, Skippy, Mahan
RG: Colon, Kemoeatu
RT: Starks, Colon

Now let's assume the Steelers grab Brandon Albert at 1.23 (which is looking less and less likely with each passing day; remember how nobody had Levi Brown going in the top 5 last year, and some of us even thought he maybe could be around in the early teens?). And he wins the LG job in training camp. Then Simmons and Colon can battle for the RG job and Kemoeatu could be cut.

Given that the Steelers also need some help along the defensive line, would anybody be averse to the team taking another offensive lineman in round 2? Either a center (Pollack, maybe) or even trading up for somebody like Sam Baker? That would solve the offensive line problems in the "throw as much shit against the wall and sees what sticks" method. Of course, Pittsburgh would have to cut two or three current players to make room (Kemoeatu, Essex, Mahan?) which creates some inexperience issues should somebody get hurt. (And if there's one thing that insures Roethlisberger breaks all kind of sack records next season, it's an inexperienced o-line).

Then again, if the Steelers don't think o-line is a first-round need, then there are bigger issues. In one of the deepest drafts for tackles, if the team goes in another direction with the first-round pick, well, I'm not going to be very happy. Unless they draft a running back or wideout.

Part of me thinks the o-line might work itself out with Starks at RT, Colon at RG and two solid picks in the first two rounds. I'm also a little wary of Starks reverting to 2006 form, which makes me hope he signs a one-year tender. If he sucks, Pittsburgh can let him walk next off-season; if he plays well, they should try to re-sign him in December.