With all of the injuries this season, the Pittsburgh Steelers could be getting a late season lift, most notably on the offensive line where 2012 first-round pick David DeCastro made his return to practice on Wednesday.
DeCastro tore his MCL in the preseason, and he has been away from the field since. The Steelers placed him on the Return/Reserve/Injured List and now the have two weeks to decide if they want to activate him. Otherwise, he will go on the injured reserve and would not be eligible to play until next season.
He was the No. 24 pick overall and widely considered the best interior lineman in the entire draft, but instead of starting from day one, DeCastro has had to watch his teammate’s battle. Thanks to the new injured reserve rules, the rookie gets a second chance to potentially make an impact during his freshman campaign.
The Steelers will almost certainly activate the rookie, but where he fits in the remainder of the season remains to be seen.
Guards Willie Colon and Ramon Foster have been very good, but head coach Mike Tomlin has to worry about potentially damaging the chemistry they have built so far.
The Steelers offensive line has made strides this season, but are still just a shade above average in terms of production.
DeCastro has superior talent over both current guards, but it is a matter of whether or not he becomes game-ready within the next couple of weeks. If that is the case, Tomlin has to play his best players, but it isn’t always as easy as that.
However, depending how the next few weeks turn out, Steelers’ fans will get the opportunity to get a good look at the future as DeCastro will likely be worked into the mix in some fashion.