Steelers plan to sort out LT options in camp

The Steelers don't have an official incumbent as the starting left offensive tackle, but they have options and a position coach willing to explore them.

The Steelers participate in Day 9 of the 2016 Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how that all plays out," offensive line coach Mike Munchak said.

Third-year pro Alejandro Villanueva, who took over when Kelvin Beachum was lost for the season on Oct. 18 against Arizona, is one such option.

Nine-year veteran Ryan Harris, who has arrived via free agency fresh from winning the Super Bowl with Denver, is another.

The Steelers will eventually settle on a replacement for Beachum, who joined Jacksonville as a free agent in the offseason.

But the OTAs the Steelers are currently conducting are just the beginning of that process.

"We'll get to training camp and get the pads on and those things will kind of unfold, who the best five (offensive linemen) are," Munchak said. "We try to do that every year, but that's going to be an emphasis, looking at those two guys and giving everyone a chance to have the best guys on the field.

"That usually plays itself out."

Villanueva, 6-foot-9 and 320 pounds, wound up starting 10 regular-season games and both playoff games after having spent the 2014 season on the practice squad transitioning from defensive lineman to offensive tackle.

"At this time last year he obviously wasn't really thinking he was going to be the starting (left) tackle for us," Munchak said.

"He did a nice job and he'll just continue to get better and better."

Villanueva has already done that, in Munchak's estimation.

"Watching him here, he's already so much better during these OTAs than he was when the season ended as far as the understanding of what we're doing," Munchak said. "Having a chance to get back and watch himself on tape and seeing what he did well and what he needs to improve upon.

"When you have a guy who works like that, has that kind of work ethic, then you know he's going to continue to get better and that's exactly what he's doing."

Harris, 6-5, 302, started three regular-season games at right tackle and 13 at left tackle and all three playoff games on the left side for the Broncos last season.

He's started 70 of 110 career regular-season games with Denver, Houston and Kansas City.

"Just seeing him out here, even when they're not in pads, you can see certain things," Munchak said. "He's obviously smart. He's been around it, nothing is really new to him. So you lose some players like we did with Kelvin Beachum, you need to bring in guys like (Harris) so that we can move forward and have good competition and that's what he brings.

"Plus, he just won the Super Bowl. This organization has won quite a few of them. When you have players who have won them it's a good feeling to know these guys know how to win. He knows how to win. So yes, really happy he's here."

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