The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books. It ended in spectacular fashion — though the wrong kind of spectacular — in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
Since then, they have lost several players in free agency who were key members of the offense and defense. Multiple starters retired, as well. They made few notable additions in free agency, and are banking on contributions on offense from their rookies, as well as perhaps a last ride for Ben Roethlisberger.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions. Right now, they lack answers. They know that they have Roethlisberger for one more year, but was that even the right decision? How successful can Najee Harris be behind a questionable offensive line? What kind of changes can Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm bring to the offense? And how can the defense retain the status quo with the losses of Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Mike Hilton?
These are the sorts of questions we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football is a year-round pastime and there are always questions to ask, though there is rarely a concrete answer. This is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all of their uncertainty.
Question: Will Dan Moore Jr. threaten Chukwuma Okorafor for the starting left tackle job?
Right after the Steelers drafted him, first-year head offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said that he expected rookie fourth-round pick Dan Moore Jr. to be able to compete right away.
The team doesn’t really have ‘incumbents’ at either tackle position, in the sense that neither of the projected starters have played even 100 snaps on their given side. From that perspective, it’s not exactly a novel idea that a rookie could challenge for a job.
But Moore has had the opportunity to get in a lot of quality reps this offseason, with Zach Banner continuing to work his way back from the torn ACL that knocked him out for all of the first game last season, and Chukwuma Okorafor very limited throughout training camp to date.
That’s put the Aggie under the microscope at left tackle, and he’s certainly taken his lumps (Alex Highsmith has more than had his way with him a fair bit). He has been showing progress, and had his best day yet of camp yesterday.
We haven’t even gotten into a preseason game yet, but at some point, you have to consider the job open. Head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear that every position is open for competition. If Moore looks like he’s ready to start by the end of the preseason, will he be in the lineup?