While there was some division among fans whether or not the number one priority in the draft should have been a running back or the offensive line for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they did manage to address both within their first four selections, starting with the ball-carrier in round one before adding to the trenches in the third and fourth rounds.
They kicked off day three of the draft with their second lineman in a row, this time Dan Moore, Jr. out of Texas A&M. While not necessarily a high-profile player relative to some others at his position in this draft class—and some even projected him moving to guard—Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm confirmed that not only are they looking at him as a tackle, they also aren’t putting training wheels on him.
“I don’t view him as a project at all. We’re throwing him right in the mix in terms of competing”, he told reporters during his post-selection conference call with the media following the pick just a short time ago. “We haven’t decided whether it’s gonna be right or left—he’s capable of playing both sides”.
The Steelers have watched three starters from last season’s offensive line depart in free agency, and they did not add any no-brainer starters via free agency. Alejandro Villanueva is still sitting out there available, but the addition of Moore now gives them four tackles, seemingly making it unlikely they are looking to bring him back at this point.
Obviously, though, Moore was available on the third day of the draft, and you don’t typically go into round four and beyond anticipating that you’re going to find ready-made starters who don’t need some time to grow. But he has a pedigreed background that Klemm and the Steelers are leaning on.
“This is a guy that started over 30 games in the SEC”, he said. “There’s a lot of guys in that league that are gonna be in this league someday soon, or are in here now, so I think he’s more than ready to compete and to accept the challenge that’s ahead of him. I’m not really concerned about that”.
Moore was a second-team All-SEC selection a year ago at left tackle, and also played every game there the previous two seasons, since having converted from guard during his freshman year in 2017. That versatility may still serve him well if he doesn’t immediately secure a starting spot, though.
As of now, Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner project as the Steelers’ starting tackles, but they added Joe Haeg and Rashaad Coward in free agency, and now Moore in the draft. They have given themselves options, even if none are as exciting as a Teven Jenkins, who would have been available to them in the first round.