In week seven of the 2015 season, Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva earned the first of his NFL career against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In retrospect, that particular game was one Villanueva would like to forget, as it was not the debut he had envisioned. For any rookie offensive lineman making their first start, facing a pass rusher the caliber of Tamba Hali, is a difficult task even for the most experienced lineman. In that game, Villanueva surrendered a strip sack which would eventually help guide the Chiefs to victory. Such a setback would perhaps prove too great for a rookie to overcome; for Villanueva, he would persist. From that point, Villanueva would start the remainder of the season, including the playoffs, earning high grades from Pro Football Focus.
Villanueva has been a staple of the Steelers offensive line for the last five seasons. Since his debut in 2015, he has started in 74 games and has never missed a start. As rare as it may be to find players with this level of durability, Villanueva's career has had its share of peaks and valleys. Last season, the Steelers offense saw its fair share valleys, as they regressed in aspects which were once areas of strength.
For Villanueva himself, he was a consistent presence on the offensive line, playing 995 offensive snaps and allowing only two sacks. He posted the second-highest Pro Football Focus grade for Steelers linemen playing over 900 offensive snaps.
As he enters the last season of his contract, the only thing if certain is that nothing is for certain. Villanueva is likely aware that every performance will count more that ever, if he wants to get another contract. If is his body of work the last five seasons were to determine this answer. Villanueva is likely to remain with Steelers for many more years to come.