Chris Kemoeatu joined the Steelers in 2005 as a sixth round pick out of Utah. Listed at 6’3” and 244 pounds, he captivated the imaginations of Steelers fans who are devotees of the team’s Smash Mouth identity.
- Then he dropped off the radar screen
Kemoeatu did not play a game as a rookie. He started twice in 2006 and saw playing time in one other. In 2007, he did not start, but saw significant playing time both at guard and on special teams. With that said, heading into the 2008 season coaches said that he came close to beating out Kendall Simmons for a starting spot in 2007….
Assessment of Chris Kemoeatu
A sixth round pick who starts on a Super Bowl Championship team is no bust. But given his size and stature, it is also hard to say that Kemoeatu has lived up to his potential. He seemed to start the season strong, but the few sacks the offensive line allowed against Houston and Cleveland ended up hurting Ben’s shoulder.
It’s unfair to single out Kemoeatu for blame, but the Steelers had a lot of difficulty punching at the goal line in the latter half of the year, and much of that difficulty was due to the run blocking from the interior lineman (think of Mewelde Moore getting pancaked by the Colts from the one.)
What the Steelers Should Do
The Steelers unsuccessfully attempted to sign Kemoeatu to a long term deal in the 2008 off season, and perhaps that’s a good thing. While the Steelers defeintely could do worse than Kemoeatu at guard, he is certainly not a player you break the bank for. With Kendall Simmons returning from IR and Jason Capizzi on the active roster, the Steelers have depth at guard, at least in terms of quantity if not quality. The Steelers should let Kemoeatu test the free agent market, then resign him at a good value if he gets no takers.
Most Likely Scenario
This is probably the easiest prediction to make. The Steelers will most likely let Kemoeatu test the free agent waters, with an eye toward bringing him back at mid-market value.
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