It doesn’t matter how good your skill position players are, if your offensive line can’t block, none of it matters. Last season a huge part of the problems with the Pittsburgh Steelers was the play of the offensive line. Injuries across the board forced numerous lineup changes and you could just see that there was no continuity among the players. As we get closer to the 2013 NFL draft, offensive line, in particular someone on the interior who can play multiple spots, is a serious need. But rather than commit a high draft pick to a guard or center, the Steelers might want to target free agent center Jason Brown.
Brown has been entrenched as a starter in this league for the past six seasons. He’s started 90 of a possible 96 games during that six season stretch. And if you look at how he graded out first as a Baltimore Raven, and then later with the St. Louis Rams it became clear that his play was greatly impacted by the talent around him. Whether it was at left guard or center, his play was solid, but when he had better talent around him, he played much better.
So you have to think that if the Steelers could sign Brown, they could play him in some combination with center Maurkice Pouncey and guard David DeCastro and create a rather formidable interior. It would also allow tackle Ramon Foster to back up both tackle spots and guard Kelvin Beachum to be the primary backup on the inside. Personally, I’d put Brown at center where his size and strength can hold up better against big 0-technique tackles and move Pouncey to left or right guard where his athleticism could be put to better use.
The key will, of course, be money. The Steelers don’t have a whole lot to spend, but Brown shouldn’t command a huge salary and it would likely only be a one or two year contract. He’s in his prime at 29 years old and would be an excellent addition.