Because we drafted three of them last year. And all three showed varying degrees of promise. We also added a strong UDFA last year, an even stronger one this year, and brought in a couple of free agents who have actually started NFL games. Let's take a look at last year's acquisitions again:
Tyron Smith -- Looks to be a star. The first person I've ever seen join the words "pancake" and "Ware" without use of the word "never". That he has been beat by Ware a few times as well is not really a concern. That Crawford has managed to beat him a couple of times is, IMO, a good sign for our 3rd rounder rather than a cause for worry.
Bill Nagy -- actually entered the year as a starter last year. While he didn't play particularly well, he is also capable of playing C. My personal hope was that he would compete with (and beat out) Costa for the starting job. He seemed to be performing well as the 2nd team C before an an ankle injury (again!) appears to have ended his season. Disappointing, but not really forseeable by the front office.
David Arkin-- 4th rd pick who was actually running with the 1s in preseason last year and was doing so again this year. While his upper body strength has been an issue which, according to Broaddus, has him playing off-balance, he was expected to compete for the starting guard spot with the new free agents and last year's starters (Nagy, Kowalski, Dockery) and had been doing all right, if not exactly lighting the camp on fire. The parade of injuries at C has now moved him inside where he's being excoriated because he can't walk in and do something he's never done before at a 1st team NFL level. People don't realize how hard he's being pushed right now. I think it actually speaks well of him that the coaches have him where he's at-- they obviously see something or they wouldn't push him so far out front. Personally, I would love it if he figured it out and won the starting C job, partly because I agree that Costa is not good enough, but mostly because I love seeing know-it-all, armchair participants fed their own feet.
Kevin Kowalski -- Primary back up all along the interior line last year. Performed pretty well in every position he was placed. Definitely showed enough that there was hope. As with Nagy, that hope has drowned in an ankle injury and it seems unlikely that Kowalski will be able to challenge for a starting spot this year, though he should still be a useful back up once he recovers.
It's not like the position was completely ignored. The fact that the position looks awfully weak right now is not a matter of nothing being done to address it, it's a matter of the projected starter at all three interior line positions, as well as the two strongest competitors for those three spots missing significant time due to injury.
Pick your favorite offensive line. Now, take out the top FIVE interior linemen. How does it look now?
Complain about the situation all you want, but blaming Jerome, Spaulding, and Red for the current situation is like blaming the mayor when a tornado levels a town...
Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.