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Steelers Rookie OL Could Make First Start vs. Patriots



Steelers OL Spencer Anderson
Steelers OL Spencer Anderson against the Buffalo Bills, Aug. 19, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have already seen significant returns from their 2023 NFL Draft class. Most rookies have received playing time and shined in that time, except for one key player. That would be seventh-round offensive lineman Spencer Anderson. During training camp, Anderson worked as the team’s do-it-all player, playing at all five spots at different points. That has allowed him to get a helmet on Sundays. But Thursday could be his first career start.

Starters Isaac Seumalo and Mason Cole are both questionable with injuries. While it is unknown if either will play, if both do not play, it seems likely that Anderson would be the guy to get the start. Nate Herbig would play otherwise, and if both are out, he shifts from left guard to center.

Steelers OL Spencer Anderson

Steelers offensive lineman Spencer Anderson at rookie minicamp on May 12, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Anderson can also play center, but he seems third on that depth chart. Meanwhile, Herbig impressed with his play in relief of Seumalo on Sunday against the Cardinals, earning an elite grade from Pro Football Focus, the second-best among linemen this past week. Now, Anderson could have a shot to assume that role at left guard. He is a complete unknown.

For Anderson, center Mason Cole helped him learn all five spots quickly, especially once he started repping at center. But he has also learned about playing guard from Seumalo and James Daniels. But left guard is his most natural position, so a start there would signal an easy transition for the rookie since he played many games at Maryland.

It’s a credit to Anderson that he has picked up all those positions. But he is admittedly a complete unknown. In the preseason, he earned a solid 84.0 pass-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus and allowed just one pressure in 55 pass-blocking snaps. So, at the very least, that is a promising sign, and that was while playing different spots. If he has to start, the Steelres must be confident in what he can bring. His versatility is why they drafted him, and while musical chairs on the offensive line could be tough, it could also be a great opportunity to see what he has.