If Max Starks is at full strength, he’s likely to be no worse than an experienced backup for rookie Mike Adams at left tackle. Moreover, we hear it’s reasonable to believe Starks could be a viable contender for the OLT job if he’s healthy after suffering an ACL injury in January. (Ostensibly on that subject, Starks tweeted the following on July 17, the day he re-signed with Pittsburgh: “It's a great day, doc gave me a great report! On my way to being game ready!”)
Starks started 12 regular-season games at left tackle for Pittsburgh a season ago, while Adams, though talented, is transitioning to the NFL game. The Steelers have gotten younger at tackle the past two years, adding Adams and Marcus Gilbert in Round Two in consecutive drafts. Gilbert is the slated starter at right tackle, and Adams' size and pass-protecting skills make him an intriguing prospect. However, Starks did well enough to hold down the OLT spot for most of 2011, and if nothing else, there’s a reasonable expectation of what the Steelers will get from him if he’s healthy. With Adams, the proof will come in the practices and games to come.