2021 Pre-Training Camp Roster Review: Tackle

The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2021 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor, though some have remained largely static.

We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp, this time back at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.

Position: Tackle

Total Positional Figure: 10

Additions: 1

Deletions: 0

Players Retained:

Chukwuma Okorafor: Okorafor is now among the more experienced tackles on the roster after starting 16 games last year following Zach Banner’s injury. While he played serviceably, Ben Roethlisberger’s rapid time of release greatly aided him. He is set to start at left tackle, but could be challenged.

Zach Banner: Banner tore his ACL after winning the starting right tackle job, making his first career start in the season opener in 2020. He will be looking to take back that job this summer after re-signing on a two-year, $9.5 million deal.

Anthony Coyle: Coyle is for now the most notable of the team’s many futures tackles, holding the very minor distinction of being the only one to have been elevated from the practice squad for a game, though he did not play.

Jarron Jones: A former defensive lineman, Jones converted to tackle after college, playing in the XFL last year. He spent the entire season on the practice squad.

Brandon Walton: Pittsburgh signed Walton to the practice squad after placing Banner on the Reserve/Injured List. He spent the rest of the season there.

John Leglue: Leglue was another in-season practice squad addition, though he signed at the end of December. Like the rest, a former undrafted free agent with minimal to no experience.

Aviante Collins: Signed in February, Collins went undrafted in 2018 and spent his entire career with the Vikings up to that point. While most of that time was spent on the practice squad, he does have a relatively small amount of playing time.

Players Added:

Dan Moore Jr.: Drafted in the fourth round out of Texas A&M, Moore brings the physicality to the position that offensive line coach Adrian Klemm was looking for, who insisted that he expects the rookie to be able to compete for playing time right away. He had some mixed reviews during the spring, but hasn’t gotten the pads on yet.

Players Lost: N/A

Notes and Camp Outlook: 

There are a lot of questions here. The most likely scenario is that Okorafor will start at left tackle and Banner will start at right tackle, but how will they play? And how will Moore look? Will he even be close to contributing? Can he be good enough to be the swing tackle?

And what about Joe Haeg? He was their most notable free agent signing, though was long presumed to be the backup, and tackle-eligible. Could he put his name in the conversation to start? If he does, that probably don’t bode well for either Okorafor or Banner. And who among the many depth players will stick around on the practice squad?

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