2013 Roster Countdown: #66 Willie Colon

As we’ve done in years past, we’re doing our Roster Countdown series of posts as we get ready for the regular season.  See the full list of players we’ve covered so far here.

Position: Offensive Line
Height / Weight: 6’3” 315 lbs
Age: 30 / Experience: 8
College: Hofstra

Background: Born in the Bronx, Colon attended Cardinal Hayes High School in his hometown where he played football for four years, basketball for three was on the track team for a year. As a senior, he recorded 12 sacks and was awarded the Cardinal Hayes Outstanding Defensive Player Award. He received interest from several colleges including South Carolina but opted to stay close to home and attend Hofstra University. He redshirted as a freshman in 2001 and only saw action in one game as a defensive tackle in 2002 where he recorded a tackle. From 2003 until his graduation in 2005 he played in 35 of 36 contests as an offensive tackle and received multiple honors including the Hofstra Hat Award for Offensive Lineman of the year in 2004. He was also named to the All-Atlantic 10 first team and I-AA All-American first team in 2005. He was drafted by the Steelers in the 4th round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He started two games for an injured Max Starks at right tackle that year. He proceeded to start all of the Steelers’ games at right tackle from 2007-2009 and was a key contributor to Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl victory. The following two years would be tumultuous as Colon suffered an achilles injury that sidelined him for all of 2010; he tore his triceps after starting the opener against the Ravens in 2011. A healthy Colon returned in 2012 and for the first time in his career started at left guard with mixed results early on as he eventually began to settle in. While not serious, a knee injury bothered him towards the end of the year and the Steelers kept him on the sidelines for the most part. After being cut, he signed a one-year deal with the Jets in March.

2013 Projection: Colon was one of the first men to be brought in by the newly formed John Idzik regime to bolster the offensive line after losing both starting guards. When healthy he has proven to be a reliable cog in the line and will likely be the opening day starter. The Jets will certainly need to be careful with him considering his injury history but the transition to guard was and will continue to be less of a workload for the veteran which should help a great deal. Plus there’s plenty of depth behind him after the Jets added three new lineman through the draft.

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