Should Pittsburgh Steelers Keep Fernando Velasco at Center and Move Maurkice Pouncey to Guard?
The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offensive line has gotten plenty of criticism, and rightfully so; however, there has been one bright spot on the line this year in center Fernando Velasco.
When All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey was lost for the year with a torn ACL vs. the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 all was thought to be lost. Enter Fernando Velasco, who received the phone call from the Steelers while leaving church that same Sunday. Since coming to Pittsburgh Velasco has solidified the line and most importantly the center position.
With Velasco’s success on the line it begs the question of versatility and movement along the line in years to come. Before Steeler fans criticize me for blasphemy, listen to my logic behind my thinking.
The Steelers signed the 28 year old Velasco to a one-year contract as a part-time rental for the remainder of the season until Pouncey returns next year. However, would the Steelers be smart to sign Velasco to a two or three year deal and move Pouncey to right guard? Velasco has proven that he is the atypical center: Big, strong, and not the fleetest of foot. Pouncey has proven that he has the speed, agility, and athleticism to play the guard position and handle pulling with ease.
Not only would this give the Steelers quality depth at the center position in case something happened to Fernando Velasco, but it also would have Ramon Foster as another quality backup along the offensive line.
The Steelers have a future All-Pro at right guard in David DeCastro. DeCastro has really come into his own this season and shown the ability to throw crushing blocks when pulling from the right side. It would be a great addition to the line if the Steelers were to have two solid guards next to a solid center.
Simply take a minute to think about the interior offensive line with DeCastro, Velasco and Pouncey. Pretty solid if you ask me, and in a league that is built around protecting the quarterback the Steelers should not turn down any ideas when it comes to protecting Ben Roethlisberger.
I realize that some will simply laugh off the notion of taking an All-Pro center and moving him to guard, but if you recall this preseason, Pouncey wasn’t necessarily “lighting it up”. I am also smart enough to realize that this probably won’t happen. However, if the Steelers are serious about being a contender year in and year out, then they exhaust all options. This is certainly a viable option to solidify the interior offensive line and protect their franchise quarterback.
Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz