The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Dan Moore Jr. will dress for every game in which he is healthy enough to play this season.
Explanation: The statement is worded specifically to allow for flexibility. Moore, who is position-exclusive to tackle, will not dress this year unless due to injury except in a scenario in which he either wins a starting job or shows enough to be trusted to be the game-day swing tackle/tackle-eligible.
Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm gave Moore a major endorsement right after the Steelers selected him, when he told reporters that he expects the rookie to compete immediately, suggesting that he will have the opportunity to battle for a starting job.
Even if he does not win one, he should be afforded ample opportunity to showcase his skillset, and prove that he is capable of dressing for the team right away as the number three tackle. It’s worth reminding that the Steelers utilize the tackle-eligible role to get young offensive linemen playing time and experience, dipping their toes into the water before they have to be fully immersed.
Joe Haeg may be a more experienced player, but Moore is the guy they want to get on the field, whom they see as eventually being a part of their starting lineup. The sooner he’s working, the better, and he has the talent to contribute right away.
Unfortunately for Moore, the odds are stacked against him. Okorafor and Banner are understandably the favorites to win the starting left and right tackle positions, respectively. They are the more experienced players with a history in the system.
Then you add in Haeg. While he may be best profiled as a backup, he has game-day value as the tackle-eligible, a role in which he has served in recent years. At the least, Moore would have to play very well in the tackle-eligible role in order to dress over Haeg if he does not earn a starting job.
Remember, in 2018, Okorafor was the game-day swing tackle. But when they needed a starter, Matt Feiler started. In 2019, Banner was the game-day swing tackle, but Okorafor started when they needed a replacement for a game. As long as the tackle-eligible is good enough to fill in in-game, he’s going to dress over the more long-term starting option.