Has Mahan solved Steelers' problems?

The Steelers' glaring weakness entering the offseason wasn't linebacker, but the interior of the offensive line -- center and right guard in particular.

Wex's Draft Series
  • Leon Hall
  • Adam Carriker
  • Jarvis Moss
  • Anthony Spencer
  • The Odds
  • The release of Joey Porter and signing of Sean Mahan haven't changed that thinking.

    Mahan will play center, where Kendall Simmons will get a look before entering the final season of his contract, but neither player has the bulk and strength NFL teams require at right guard.

    Backup Chris Kemoeatu has both, but isn't expected to grasp Bruce Arians's offensive changes. And there's no one backing up Alan Faneca, who's in the final year of his contract. It's no wonder the Steelers brought in a Pork Chop for a look.

    Yes, the Steelers have a problem at guard. So if you took those 25-1 opening odds on Ben Grubbs in the first round, you're smiling now.

    Grubbs is a 6-2 3/4, 311-pound knee-bender who could be had later in the first round. Grubbs would be the first offensive lineman the Steelers have drafted in the first round since taking Simmons in 2002. Both schooled at Auburn, and they keep in touch.

    "I haven't talked to him in a couple of weeks," Grubbs said at the combine. "During the season he would text me, tell me, ‘Great job. You need to do this more. How about doing this?' He's been there for me."

    That's Simmons. He's a class act, through and through, and it's one reason the Steelers would like to see him take to the new position.

    Grubbs knows all about position changes. He came to Auburn as a 230-pound linebacker/fullback, and those lead-blocking skills show when he's pulling in front of a running back.

    But before guard, Grubbs played defensive tackle and tight end. He moved to the offensive line in 2004 and started every game the next three years. He said the time he spent elsewhere has helped him as a lineman.

    "Sometimes, even before the defensive linemen are about to do their moves, I know what they're going to do," he said. "You're kind of in that defensive mentality, even if you're a guard."

    As a tight end, he never caught the ball. He was just a blocker – a 280-pound third tackle.

    "I just continued eating," Grubbs said. "I kept getting bigger. They tried me at offensive guard and coach told me the spot was mine if I earned it."

    Grubbs earned it. He started 37 consecutive games and as a senior was the only player named SEC Lineman of the Week two times. He was named All-SEC and second-team All-America by the Associated Press. His combination of quick feet and power endears him to teams such as the Steelers, who utilize their guards in space. And Grubbs says he's still growing.

    "I love to get out in space and pull, pick on those little guys like the cornerbacks and safeties," he said. "I really think that's where I have the advantage of being quick. I can get around the corner and make the blocks that a lot of players can't make."

    He's also practiced at center, in case it becomes an issue further on down the road.

    "I'm not comfortable enough to play in a game right now," he said. "I am pretty versatile. I think that's one of the advantages I have."


    Steel City Insider Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n Wex's Draft Series
    \r\n
  • Leon Hall
  • Adam Carriker
  • \r\n
  • Jarvis Moss
  • \r\n
  • Anthony Spencer
  • \r\n
  • The Odds
  • \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe release of Joey Porter and signing of Sean Mahan haven't changed that thinking. \r\n\r\n

    Mahan will play center, where Kendall Simmons will get a look before entering the final season of his contract, but neither player has the bulk and strength NFL teams require at right guard. \r\n\r\n

    Backup Chris Kemoeatu has both, but isn't expected to grasp Bruce Arians's offensive changes. And there's no one backing up Alan Faneca, who's in the final year of his contract. It's no wonder the Steelers brought in a Pork Chop for a look. \r\n\r\n

    Yes, the Steelers have a problem at guard. So if you took those 25-1 opening odds on Ben Grubbs in the first round, you're smiling now. \r\n\r\n

    Grubbs is a 6-2 3/4, 311-pound knee-bender who could be had later in the first round. Grubbs would be the first offensive lineman the Steelers have drafted in the first round since taking Simmons in 2002. Both schooled at Auburn, and they keep in touch. \r\n\r\n

    \"I haven't talked to him in a couple of weeks,\" Grubbs said at the combine. \"During the season he would text me, tell me, ‘Great job. You need to do this more. How about doing this?' He's been there for me.\" \r\n\r\n

    That's Simmons. He's a class act, through and through, and it's one reason the Steelers would like to see him take to the new position. \r\n\r\n

    Grubbs knows all about position changes. He came to Auburn as a 230-pound linebacker/fullback, and those lead-blocking skills show when he's pulling in front of a running back. \r\n\r\n

    But before guard, Grubbs played defensive tackle and tight end. He moved to the offensive line in 2004 and started every game the next three years. He said the time he spent elsewhere has helped him as a lineman. \r\n\r\n

    \"Sometimes, even before the defensive linemen are about to do their moves, I know what they're going to do,\" he said. \"You're kind of in that defensive mentality, even if you're a guard.\" \r\n\r\n

    As a tight end, he never caught the ball. He was just a blocker – a 280-pound third tackle.\r\n\r\n

    \"I just continued eating,\" Grubbs said. \"I kept getting bigger. They tried me at offensive guard and coach told me the spot was mine if I earned it.\"\r\n

    Grubbs earned it. He started 37 consecutive games and as a senior was the only player named SEC Lineman of the Week two times. He was named All-SEC and second-team All-America by the Associated Press. His combination of quick feet and power endears him to teams such as the Steelers, who utilize their guards in space. And Grubbs says he's still growing.\r\n

    \"I love to get out in space and pull, pick on those little guys like the cornerbacks and safeties,\" he said. \"I really think that's where I have the advantage of being quick. I can get around the corner and make the blocks that a lot of players can't make.\" \r\n

    He's also practiced at center, in case it becomes an issue further on down the road.\r\n

    \"I'm not comfortable enough to play in a game right now,\" he said. \"I am pretty versatile. I think that's one of the advantages I have.\"\r\n \r\n","skipOnMobile":true,"skipOnMobileReason":"UnsupportedHtmlTable","unsupportedMarkup":"LackingResponsiveTableClass","media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-03-12T17:04:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:404063]","mainImage":{"url":"[MEDIA:404063]"},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:404063]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"Draft","name":"Draft"},{"id":"10024","name":"Auburn - Football"},{"id":"591","name":"Auburn"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh 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