Pittsburgh Steelers rookie tackle Chukwuma Okorafor played a whopping 17 offensive snaps in the team’s week 1 game against the Cleveland Browns as an extra offensive lineman/tight end and overall, he seemingly represented himself well.
During his Tuesday morning interview on 93.7 The Fan, Steelers left guard Ramon Foster was asked about Okorafor’s play on Sunday and he had a lot of praise for this year’s third-round selection out of Western Michigan.
“That kid is smart,” Foster said of Okorafor. “I said earlier on in the spring, I was like, I couldn’t tell a difference really between him and a first-round tackle and I mean it in a sense that he has the body type, he has the physicality, he has the smarts, that’s to get the job done. The thing that he’s going to be living on now is getting that experience. And Coach Munch [Mike Munchak] has done a good job of just training, not just him, but all those young guys.”
Okorafor had few key blocks that stuck out Sunday in Cleveland against the Browns and one came during the 22-yard touchdown run off left guard by running back James Conner with 5:29 left in the third quarter. Okorafor did a great job of getting to the second level on that play and while he only had to run interference on Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey momentarily, it was enough to spring Conner for the score.
Foster continued Tuesday with his praise of Okorafor but did have a word of caution for him just the same.
“Chuks is coming along,” Foster said. “I think it’s just continually keep him moving forward and keep him focused on the season because this will be one of the longest seasons he’s ever had in his life in a sense that it’s 16 games and with playoffs and stuff.”
As for the Steelers possibly using Okorafor as a pass catching tight end a few times this season when he reports as eligible, Foster just laughed that notion off Tuesday morning.
“I don’t know if they want him to catch, but his blocking is definitely up to par,” Foster said.