Of all the players the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost this off-season, offensive guard Willie Colon might be the one that comes back to bit them in the butt the most in 2013. This team is lacking depth at tackle and guard and Colon provided excellent depth at both.
I found it rather interesting that from 2008-2010, keeping in mind that Colon missed all of 2010 with injury, Colon was the highest-rated tackle in the league in terms of pass protection according to Pro Football Focus.
He’s also a top-15 run blocker and while I don’t buy in fully to the notion of statistics as a measure of a players performance, I have always felt like Colon was an underrated and under-appreciated player for the Steelers. He moved from guard to tackle as needed by the Steelers, and you can’t discount his 62 career starts for what were some really talented offensive teams.
The problem with letting Colon go isn’t that he was an elite starter, it’s the hit the offensive line takes in terms of depth. Last season, the Steelers had to deal with some pretty serious injuries and the offensive line depth was stretched about as thin as possible.
Should there be injuries again this year, those 62 starts won’t be there to fill in. Instead, he will be blocking for the New York Jets and the Steelers will have to count on someone new — possibly a rookie to fill that spot. The Steelers might want to consider drafting a guard early to assure they get a talented player as the drop-off after the top four or five guard prospects in the 2013 NFL draft class is significant.
There is a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach about all this. Like Week 6 of the season, one of the starters is going to go down with an injury, and it won’t be long before Steelers fans are wishing that Colon was back on the roster. I hope that I am wrong and the Steelers are able to fill his spot but for now, I am not convinced.