Fans can often make a crucial mistake when it comes to their love of certain players. The reasoning is that they can often mistake a great story for a player that is playing well. Perhaps this is what is happening with Alejandro Villanueva.
When Kelvin Beachum went down with a season-ending knee injury, Villanueva, the US Army Captain who served in Afghanistan came in and performed well enough for many of us to think he would be the starter in 2016 with Beachum expected to sign elsewhere in free agency.
Not so fast say the Steelers who brought in veteran tackles Ryan Harris, most recently of Denver and Russell Okung of Seattle. Harris is an eight-year vet while Okung has played six seasons. Beachum leaving is not a foregone conclusion but he’s had several visits elsewhere and would likely get just a one year deal as he returns from the knee injury.
Make no mistake, Harris or Okung would be coming in to start, not to be reserves. Villanueva would then be your top reserve tackle and would be a good one but clearly the Steelers ave concerns about his ability to be a full-time starter.
Where ‘Big Al’ struggles is in two areas; because of height he tends to bend too much and can get beat around the edge. Plus, he can often get beat when guys get inside of him which means he can’t use his long arms to keep them at bay. These are things that can be worked on but apparently the Steelers aren’t convinced he can get that much better.
With so much speculation about whether safety Eric Weddle is coming to Pittsburgh, the fact the Steelers brought in a couple of tackles has gone somewhat under the radar. Don’t be so quick to dismiss this because having a guy Ben Roethlisberger can trust to protect his blind side is a pretty important thing too.