Ben Margot/Associated Press
It seems that the Steelers have fielded a struggling offensive line for the majority of Roethlisberger’s career. A glance at last season’s box scores would hardly suggest a resurgence is forthcoming. After all, Roethlisberger wound up sacked 42 times last season.
That being said, 2013 was essentially a tale of two halves. In the second half of last season, Pittsburgh allowed just seven sacks and soundly improved its running game. That partially explains why new offensive line coach Mike Munchak is so high on the group, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette, heading into the '14 season.
The line should be instantly improved with the return of All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, who had a torn ACL and MCL last year. Finally getting him next to David DeCastro, who looks to be on the cusp of some postseason accolades as well, should bode well for the interior of the line.
Lining up opposite that duo is Ramon Foster. Foster may not have entered the league with the high expectations of the aforementioned duo, but his tenacity has helped the undrafted product develop into a fixture up front.
Next to Foster is Kelvin Beachum. The 6'3", 303-pound Beachum may not have the look of a prototypical left tackle, but that hasn’t stopped him from beating out two high-round picks who do. That speaks to Beachum’s work ethic, but it also speaks to the lackluster play of the two tackles vying to start opposite him.
Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams were second-round picks in consecutive years, but only one will earn the open spot at right tackle. As the line’s only 16-game starter last season, Gilbert has to be considered the odds-on favorite. Early slip-ups, though, could see him out of the lineup in a hurry.
This group has the pedigree and potential to be the best offensive line Pittsburgh has fielded in some time. Recent history, however, suggests that fans rein in expectations until they see that translate to the field for a full season.