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Steelers

Steelers training camp preview: Maurkice Pouncey is rock in middle

Joe Rutter
| Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 7:42 p.m.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey between plays against the Texans Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston Tx.
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey between plays against the Texans Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston Tx.

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:

Starter

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.

Backup

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.

Draft pick

None

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.

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