Guard may be the most uninteresting position on a football team besides long snapper. So many people thought that I was crazy when I said that guard is the most important need for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the upcoming draft. But I stand by that statement.
The Steelers are weaker at guard than they are at any other position. The only position that even comes close is nose tackle. So the team needs to be looking very carefully at the guards in this year’s draft class. And fortunately, there are a lot of good ones coming out this year. Let’s take a look at a few of them, starting with…….
David DeCastro – Despite not being the biggest guard in this year’s draft class, David DeCastro is universally seen as the best. He’s surprisingly athletic, and he excels when asked to pull. That’s what separates him from the standard “road graders” at the position.
If a team is looking for a guy who can excel in both run blocking and pass protection, then DeCastro is the guy. And if all of the stars align properly, there are actually some scenarios in which DeCastro could fall all the way to the Steelers at #24. It’s not likely, but it could happen.
Cordy Glenn – If you want a big road grader, then Cordy Glenn is your guy. He’s 6’5″, and weighs 345 lbs. That’s a lot of beef.
The problem with Glenn is that some teams are projecting him as an offensive tackle. Offensive tackles usually get drafted higher than guards. Just think back to what happened to Branden Albert a few years ago when teams started thinking that he could be an offensive tackle.
But Cordy Glenn is a guy that I’d love to see lined up between Marcus Gilbert and Maurkice Pouncey. Or I’d love to see Isaac Redman running for 1 yard behind Maurkice Pouncey, Cordy Glenn, and Willie Colon on the right side. But regardless of which side Glenn lines up on, Ben Roethlisberger’s jersey will stay much cleaner because of his presence.
Kevin Zeitler – This is the guy that Steelers fans should be studying. He’s very likely to be available at the #24 draft slot, and if he is, the Steelers may take him.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be completely happy with this pick. Zeitler is a solid player who doesn’t excel at anything. He reminds me a bit of another Wisconsin guard that the Steelers drafted a few years back. Does anyone remember who that was?
Amini Silatolu – Silatolu is guy who could be a pleasant surprise for a team if they don’t draft him too high. He’s a big Polynesian who played at a Division II school. Therefore, he’s untested against top-rated competition. But the Steelers thought enough of him to fly him into Pittsburgh for a visit, so they obviously like something about him.
His brawler disposition, combined with his tendency to hold, reminds me a bit too much of Chris Kemoeatu. But as a 3rd or 4th round pick, I’d be happy with the selection.
Brandon Brooks – The Steeler brought him into Pittsburgh for a visit, so I have to assume that they’re considering him. The kid is big. I mean REALLY big. He’s 6’5″, and weighs 350 lbs.
He played both offensive tackle and offensive guard at Miami (OH). The Steelers love position versatility, so that’s bound to work in his favor. He’d be a steal in round 4.
Senio Kelemente – He played left tackle at Washington, but I think he’ll have to move inside in the NFL. He’ll need to gain weight, but his experience at left tackle helped his quickness. He’d look nice playing right guard for the Steelers. And I’d REALLY like him if the Steelers could get him in the 4th round. I like him less if he’s drafted earlier than that.
Lucas Nix – Sometimes what you need is right in your back yard. That may be the case with Pitt’s Lucas Nix. He got injured and missed 5 games last season, but I’m sure the Steelers’ scouts still have him on their radar.