This is the next in a series that previews every position on offense and defense with training camp approaching. Our sixth look is at guard.
Returning starters: David DeCastro and Ramon Foster. The Steelers are in good shape here as DeCastro has emerged as a Pro Bowl caliber-player at right guard, and the steady Foster has already made 57 career starts and is just 28 years old.
On the bubble: Johnson. The Vanderbilt product can play anywhere along the offensive line, and the Steelers should try to groom him for the all-purpose role that Kelvin Beachum played up front before becoming the team’s starting left tackle. Johnson's versatility will be the key if he makes the 53-man roster.
By the numbers: The Steelers have had just three guards selected to the Pro Bowl since 1975: Carlton Haselrig (1992), Duval Love (1994) and Alan Faneca (2001-07).
Did you know: DeCastro’s overall blocking grade on 96.88 percent as a senior at Stanford was the highest score recorded by a Pac 12 offensive lineman since the conference started tracking grades for offensive linemen in 1985.
Quotable: “It’s nothing right now, and I say that in the sense that [the group’s potential] has been talked about the last few years. The talent is there, but if we come out here and [falter] we’ll be saying the same thing next year. You can’t just say because we have the high-round talent or guys that have experience, that it’s supposed to be special. We’ve got to make it that way.” -- Foster on the Steelers’ offensive line.
Outlook: The Steelers appear to be pretty set at guard with Cody Wallace, providing depth and DeCastro and Foster locked in as the starters. There is no reason to think that DeCastro won’t develop into a perennial Pro Bowler as Faneca, another first-round pick, did in the 2000s.