With training camp roughly a week away, there has been a lot of talk about the lack of experienced depth along the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line. While that would usually be viewed as a detriment, the fact that the Steelers have dedicated early draft choices up front, should allow for the starting line to be one of their stronger units (if healthy).
The Steelers brought a handful of offensive linemen as undrafted rookie free agents and a couple of those have a chance to stick as rookies. One offensive lineman that fits that description is San Diego State guard Nik Embernate. The solid 6-4, 300-pound prospect is a gamer, who was one of the more consistent offensive linemen in the Mountain West Conference. In all, he has 35 starts to his credit in a run heavy offense.
Embernate was the only offensive lineman to visit the facility during pre draft workouts and was a high priority signing for the Steelers. In fact, it would not have been a surprise if the team would have spent a sixth or seventh round selection on him had the draft fallen a different way on day three.Complete with a lot of upside, his build should allow him to add some bulk without losing any of his athleticism. A mauler, he has the ability to play in both man and zone blocking schemes and is comfortable as a pulling guard. He also flashes a nasty streak, and wants to finish every block once engaged.
Playing at a smaller school, he may not be a household name, but his combination of athleticism (5.18 40-yard dash and 21 reps at 225) and dominating characteristics on tape, should give him at least a punchers chance at making the roster. With camp only a week away, he will be one player to keep an eye one.
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