For five seasons, from 2016 to 2019 and again in 2021, the Pittsburgh Steelers took great comfort in knowing that veteran and versatile interior offensive lineman BJ Finney was often healthy and had a helmet on on game days.
During his five seasons in Pittsburgh, Finney went from an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State, excited after signing with his childhood favorite team, to a consistent in the trenches behind guards Ramon Foster and David DeCastro and center Marquis Pouncy. and reliable piece.
Finney played in 66 career games for the Steelers, starting 15 in that same span. Although he would not go on to become one of the greatest UDFAs in franchise history and earn a place in the Hall of Honor, Finney should not be forgotten for a vital backup role as the Steelers continued to chase Lombardi’s NBA trophies. At the end of Ben Roethlisberger’s Hall of Fame career.
Former K-State offensive lineman B.J. Finney told me last night he has medically retired from football after playing seven seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Not sure if that’s widely known or not. Just wanted to say congrats to him on a stellar career! pic.twitter.com/gO87uBerDt
— Kellis Robinett (@KellisRobinett) June 7, 2022
Now, in a new era and completely rebuilt in the trenches from a starting lineup perspective, the Steelers under GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidle need to find their own version of Phinney moving forward.
Of course, there are a few candidates on the roster who could step into that finney role as a backup guard/center combo and provide solid play for the franchise at any given moment. But that candidate may still not be on the list.
It may not be a glamorous position and may not be seen as a necessity by much of the fan base, but after making significant changes along the offensive line in recent seasons, there is a need to focus on depth and behind the projected. Versatility Starter. five. That focus must begin with finding the next Finney.
As I said earlier, there are already some internal candidates on the list who could fill that Phinney position.
we will see:
Nate Herbig-Herbig is the obvious candidate here, one that many will no doubt call a must-have and potentially will-be guy to be an interior offensive lineman. Herbig has plenty of starting experience from his time with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets, and he signed with the Steelers in the offseason, reuniting with Weidle. Herbig has played in 44 career games, starting 29 in his first four seasons in the league. During that same span, Herbig has played 1,648 snaps at right guard, 377 snaps at left guard, and just 49 snaps at center.
It might be a bit of a stretch to envision him as the true swing inside offensive lineman with center potential. 49 snapshot suggests he may be in play there, but that’s a very small sample size with extreme projection. Nevertheless, he was signed for a reason and he is an experienced player.
Like the way Nate Herbig can climb to the second level and get a hat on guys. Once he's there, he latches on and takes Myles Jack for a ride in the run game.
Lots to like here with Herbig. pic.twitter.com/ZJhejd1Jrn
— Josh Carney (@ByJoshCarney) March 14, 2023
Kendrick Green When I read Kendrick Green’s name, my eyes open. Look, I get it. Yes, but if there’s any way to stay on this list, it’s by winning the backup center job behind Mason Cole. Add to that the fact that he played guard during training camp last summer and it’s clear that he has the versatility of the position. He was also a guard in college, and his athletic attributes are better suited for guards where he can move. It was a disastrous experiment as the starting center, but if he shows something in training camp at center and guard, he could fit in as an interior offensive lineman. However, it probably won’t give fans the comforting feeling that Finney did.
Spencer Anderson – If there’s one person on the list who could really pull it off and fit the role of Finny perfectly, it’s Anderson. The seventh-round pick played all five positions along the offensive line at Maryland and then went through the pre-draft process at center. He has size (6’5″, 309 pounds) and overall experience. He is also a good athlete with passable feet, although his test numbers were significantly lower in offensive tackle. That being said, the test numbers: especially your ras – This is very impressive when filtered as an interior offensive lineman. However, he is much better at pass protection than the running game and he will need to find that physicality in his game in order to truly take over Finney’s role. Still, that positional versatility and experience is enticing.
Clearly, the Steelers aren’t shying away from turning every stone to fix the roster woes and build the best possible team ahead of the 2023 season. They are already doing this at cornerback, inside linebacker, and potentially outside linebacker in the coming months. So why not a piece in the deep trenches?
Let’s look at some free agent candidates who could fit into Phinney’s role on Pat Meyer’s offensive line.
Matt Scura – The Steelers know Scura well, having faced him several times during his four seasons in Baltimore. He has dealt with some major injuries in the past, including a torn ACL in 2019 that ultimately ended his stay in Baltimore. A former UDFA out of Duke and a Pittsburgh native, Skura played the last two seasons with the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams and racked up 1,130 career snaps at left guard, 2,580 at center and 785 at right guard. He is 30 and will need to pass a physical, but he is a guy the Steelers are quite familiar with and would significantly strengthen their interior on the depth chart.
Billy Price was selected in the first round out of Ohio State in 2018 by the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers know Price well, as does Schura. Like Scura, Price has suffered some major injuries in his career, including a torn pectoral that caused him to miss some time in his rookie season. Torn pectoral occurred during bench press at the combine. Since then, Price’s career has had its ups and downs, but that hasn’t stopped teams from betting on him. In his five seasons in the league (three with the Bengals, one with the New York Giants and one last season with Arizona), Price has played 3,091 career snaps. Of those plays in his career, 2,435 have come at center, while 478 have come at left guard and 177 at right guard.
Pat Elflin – Here’s another Ohio State product, and at just 28 years old with positional versatility, Elflin could fit into Phinney’s role. Selected in the third round in 2017 by the Minnesota Vikings, Elfelin has bounced between center and left throughout his career, but seems to have settled into the center role after two rocky first seasons in Minnesota. In his career, Elflin, who also spent time with the Jets and Carolina Panthers during his six-year career, was involved in 4,030 snaps, including 1,370 at left guard and 2,608 at center.
Got the 🥄 out for this outstanding block in space by Jets LG Pat Elflein! Perfect technique to release on the screen and then finishes in space pic.twitter.com/iuVh21ru3r
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) December 29, 2020
The names, both internally and externally, may not be big headliners, and may not move the needle for some fans, but at this point in the offseason, teams are looking for experience, versatility and depth relatively cheaply. Are. Free agents like Skura, Price and Elflein fit that description.
After the previous two seasons, in which the Steelers overhauled a rotten offensive line (they signed Mason Cole, James Daniels, Isaac Seumalo and Herbig in free agency, and drafted Broderick Jones), the Steelers needed depth inside. needs attention to address. Offensive line.