Incumbent Matt Feiler: Steelers starting RT job ‘up for grabs’ |

Incumbent Matt Feiler: Steelers starting RT job ‘up for grabs’

Chris Adamski
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) plays in an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers , Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Being the de facto incumbent hasn’t given the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Matt Feiler any advantage in the competition for the starting right tackle job.

Longtime starter Marcus Gilbert was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in March. Other than using a seventh-round draft choice on Derwin Gray, the Steelers didn’t do much to fortify the position.

So is Feiler, the man who made 10 starts last season in place of Gilbert, the man to beat at right tackle?

“No, it’s up for grabs,” Feiler said after an organized team activity session Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “‘Coach (Mike Tomlin) talked about it (in those terms). I know I have got to keep fighting for the position and just keep improving every day.”

Feiler (11 NFL starts) is the most experienced player competing for the spot. Chuks Okorafor (one NFL start) has the highest pedigree as a third-round pick last year. Jerald Hawkins (fourth-round pick in 2016) is a combination of the two. Then there’s former five-star college recruit Zach Banner, a 6-foot-8, 360-pounder who spent all of last season on the 53-man roster. He is a wild card.

Feiler, undrafted in 2014 out of Division II Bloomsburg, is entering his fifth season as Steelers property and his third on the 53-man roster. He had bounced around from guard to tackle during much of his NFL practice time until holding down the spot at tackle last year after Gilbert’s injury.

However, Feiler said despite spending time as the first-team right tackle during OTAs, he still has been asked to spend time at guard.

“They are going to be mixing me in still,” Feiler said. “So just to keep me fresh at every position. The more you can do the better. Just try to keep my skills at every position sharp and ready to go.”

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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