Pittsburgh Steelers: Willie Colon's Move to Guard Is Best for the Offensive Line

Chris GazzeCorrespondent IMay 16, 2012

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  Willie Colon #74 of the Pittsburgh Steelers defends against the  Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Has the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line gone from rags to riches in just a few months? It may happen after Willie Colon told Steelers.com that he will move from right tackle to left guard.

“They moved me to left guard now. I am learning that," said  Colon.

There has been speculation for years that Colon, who is undersized for a right tackle, could eventually transition to the interior of the line, and now, it will finally happen.

On the surface, this looks to be an outstanding move for the Steelers' offensive line, as the trio of Colon, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro should give the Steelers a powerful and very athletic interior.

The athleticism on the inside of the line will allow the Steelers to pull both Colon and DeCastro.

"You should expect both of us pulling," Colon said in an interview with Mike Prisuta of WDVE (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). "I think we're going to be a lot more balanced."

This will be a stark contrast to starting Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster at guard. While both players started last year, neither garnered a free-agent offer despite not requiring any compensation in terms of draft picks.

The addition of Colon and DeCastro to the interior will give the line a lot of power to create a push in the ground game, particularly in the red zone, while their size and athleticism will help in pass protection.

There is a ripple effect on the outside, as well. Now there is a question whether or not Marcus Gilbert will move to the left side or stay at right tackle.

Mike Adams is the wild card in the situation as he has the talent to play in the NFL, but he is not a polished prospect like DeCastro and may need some seasoning before he enters the starting lineup.

However, if you listen to Colon, Adams seems to have a chance to start.

“I am excited to get out there. I know the sky is the limit for us as a line. We have the young kids DeCastro and Mike Adams," said Colon in the interview. "The biggest thing that always gets us is the injury bug, but if we can stay strong and healthy, we should be the one or two best line in the league.”

Adams projects as a left tackle, but the coaching staff may not want him protecting Ben Roethlisberger's blind side. Conversely, the line has struggled and rookies have been successful at left tackle.

If Adams plays the left side, that would mean he gets to play next to the veteran Colon and DeCastro would be alongside Gilbert, who is in his second season.

Pittsburgh could keep Adams on the ride side, but that would mean they would have two rookies playing next to each other.

Of course, Pittsburgh could elect to start Jonathan Scott over Adams; they could also re-sign Max Starks and start him, but that is if he has fully recovered from his ACL injury.

As it stands now, the Steelers may best be served to start both DeCastro and Adams. It is not like they would perform worse than what Roethlisberger has had in front of him for a majority of his career.

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 04:  First round draft pick David DeCastro #66 of the Pittsburgh Steelers works out during their rookie minicamp at the Pittsburgh Steelers South Side training facility on May 4, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wick
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The rookies also have the benefit of offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who is excellent at his job, and for the first time since joining the Steelers, he has talent across the entire line.

With his coaching abilities and the natural talent of his players, Kugler should be able to put the five most talented players on the line, which could once again be one of the team's strengths.

This is just another offseason move to help maximize the production from the offense, and it appears to be a good one.

Success starts up front in the trenches, and Colon moving to guard is the first move in developing what could be one of the better offensive lines in the league.

The potential for these players is very high, and it will take time for them to become a cohesive unit. But once they do, Roethlisberger may not know what to do with all of the protection he has in front of him.

Now that sounds like a pretty good problem to have.


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