Steelers training camp preview: Maurkice Pouncey is rock in middle
The Tribune-Review will examine each position on the Steelers roster as they prepare to report for training camp July 25 at Saint Vincent. Today’s installment looks at the four centers:
Maurkice Pouncey: He was named to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in eight seasons. The two omissions were when he suffered season-ending injuries. Pouncey has started 15 games in back-to-back seasons and has formed a strong bond with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Because he is the man in the middle, he may be the most important component of the offensive line — even more than All-Pro guard David DeCastro.
B.J. Finney: The versatile Finney started four games last year — two at left guard, one as a blocking tight end and the season finale against the Cleveland Browns when Pouncey sat for rest. He will be the top interior backup for the third year in a row.
On camp roster
Parker Collins: At Appalachian State, Collins was a guard for two years before switching to center as a senior. He spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars last summer and was in training camp with the Los Angeles Rams. Collins was added to the Steelers roster in April.
Patrick Morris: An undrafted free agent, Morris was signed immediately after the NFL Draft. At TCU, Morris started as a center as a senior after playing guard as a junior. He was lauded for his play at Alamo Bowl, when he limited Stanford’s Harrison Phillips to three tackles.
Camp question: Will Pouncey regain his All-Pro status? Despite continuing his run of Pro Bowl appearances, Pouncey hasn’t made the first-team or second-team All-Pro list since 2014. Pro Football Focus has been critical of Pouncey’s play, and a return to an All-Pro level would help silence his skeptics.