The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off the third day of the 2021 NFL Draft the same way that they did each of the past two: Seeking solutions to improve the run game. That started with the drafting of running back Najee Harris in the first round, followed by a physical tight end in Pat Freiermuth, before doubling up on offensive linemen.
Dan Moore Jr. out of Texas A&M was their first of six selections on Saturday, a three-year SEC starting left tackle, whom offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said will be thrown into the mix to compete. He certainly fits in with the physical mentality that he wants to set in his new room this year.
“I think this year we showed that in this A&M offensive line that we love to run the ball,” Moore told reporters during his introductory conference call yesterday. “That’s what we want to do. We want to run the ball. I mean, we get excited when our coach calls a run play, so I think that all should just tell you enough about the demeanor in which myself and my teammates had this past season.”
Moore made the All-SEC second-team at left tackle during his senior season in 2020. As a group, his linemen helped put up some significant numbers for the Aggies offense a year ago, and provided quality pass protection for quarterback Kellen Mond, who posted a career-high passer rating.
The desire to run block tends to coincide with a certain demeanor toward it, as it is more active rather than passive in comparison to pass protection. You generally don’t have to ‘look’ for work. The work finds you. As Moore told reporters, he believes he has the mental makeup of a physical run blocker.
“Like I said, I think I exhibited that this past season with us having a tremendous run game at A&M and moving guys out of the way, paving the way for running backs,” he told reporters. Said Klemm, “This is a guy who is more than capable of being nasty, playing physically and finishing and all of those things. That guy has finished and pounded people in the dirt.”
Of course, you can’t just go out and draft run blockers and expect to run a competent offense. Not even the most elite rushing offenses of today can get by without a strong complementary passing game. Remember, the Baltimore Ravens led the league in passing touchdowns in 2019 when they set the NFL record for rushing yards in a single season.
The good news is that Moore isn’t a one-dimensional player. Whether or not he is ready to take the reins on a starting gig from the beginning of his career is a value question, but he certainly has the talent and demeanor to push his way into a featured role. When he does, he could be an asset to making this a more versatile and less predictable offense.