PITTSBURGH -- This is the sixth in a series in which I will examine every position relative to the 2013 season – and look take a look ahead.
2014 free agents: None
The good: David DeCastro overcame a disastrous opener – his missed cut block took out Maurkice Pouncey and sidelined the Pro Bowl center for the rest of the season – to become the Steelers’ best offensive lineman. DeCastro tied right tackle Marcus Gilbert for the most snaps (922) among Steelers’ offensive linemen, and he established himself as a Pro Bowl-caliber guard. His season is what the Steelers envisioned when they picked the former Stanford standout in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, and he is only going to get better. Left guard Ramon Foster was again steady, if unspectacular, and, like DeCastro, the fifth-year veteran played through injuries and missed just one game.
The bad: Not a lot to take issue with considering the durability and relatively high level of play the Steelers got from their starting guards.
The money (2014 salary-cap numbers): The Steelers have about $4.1 million tied up in their starting guards, and DeCastro is a bargain with a cap hit of $2.13 million. The Steelers are set at guard next season, and depth could be supplied by Fernando Velasco if the Steelers are able to re-sign the player who can become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.
Draft priority: Very low. Foster is signed through the next two seasons, as is DeCastro. The Steelers have too many other needs, particularly on defense, to draft a guard. Look for them to sign a couple as undrafted free agents.