Steelers: Showing Faith In Offensive Line, Say Goodbye To Hampton?

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IApril 25, 2009

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 9:  Defensive tackle Casey Hampton #98 of the Pittsburgh Steelers acknowledges a teammate during the game against the Arizona Cardinals on November 9, 2003 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 28-15. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

With the 32nd pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers chose to pick up Missouri defensive tackle Evander “Ziggy” Hood.

This automatically makes everyone think “What about offensive line needs?” or “What about Casey Hampton?”

Well, the Steelers are obviously showing some faith in the offensive line. After all, they did win the Super Bowl. It’s not a bad pick and should really boost the offensive line’s confidence.

As far as Casey Hampton goes, he’s entering the final year of his contract this season and he will be 32 in September. That’s not even factoring his problem with showing up to camp within his designated weight limit.

It looks to me like the Steelers are getting ready to bid farewell to Hampton come the end of this coming season.

From the little that I’ve seen from Hood, I’ve noticed that he has the motor required to play on the Steelers' defense. He never gives up and his lateral speed is impressive for a defensive lineman. He demonstrated his toughness in 2006, missing only three games after breaking his foot and having a screw put in it.

He does have a problem with his pad level however, coming up directly after the snap, which will allow the offensive linemen to get underneath his pads and render him virtually useless for that play.

Personally, I see him having an immediate impact in form of a rotation between himself, Hampton, and possibly Chris Hoke.

The only question that remains is: “Will this light a fire under Casey Hampton, forcing him to essentially play for a contract?”