When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. out of Texas A&M in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the expectation was Moore Jr. would be more of a project tackle, sitting a few years while he develops into a hopeful starter.
Moore Jr. threw those expectations out the window come the start of training camp, putting together impressive day after impressive day, eventually working his way into a starting role. Against the Buffalo Bills Sunday at 1 p.m. in Highmark Stadium, Moore Jr. will open the season as the starting left tackle, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in the past with the Steelers’ franchise.
That alone can be credited to Moore Jr. being a “quick study” according to Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.
Speaking with Steelers.com’s Bob Labriola earlier in the week, Tomlin stated that Moore Jr. has been ready from the word go and absorbs things quickly, allowing him to hit the ground running.
“His general readiness, the skills that he possesses relative to his position – his hand usage, etc., but more than that, his maturity, his mentality,” Tomlin told Labriola. “The way he takes in information and the quality in which he takes in information. He’s a quick study. He almost gives you that veteran vibe in terms of how he receives information, which is a great asset to a young guy. He’s a quick learner. And that’s what I mean when I talk about this floor being higher than anticipated.”
Moore Jr. certainly proved he is a quick learner throughout the preseason and training camp, earning the right to take snaps at right tackle as the Steelers continued to throw everything they possibly could at the rookie ahead of the season. Now though, Moore Jr. returns to his more comfortable position of left tackle, tasked with protecting Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side against the likes of Jerry Hughes and AJ Epenesa at Highmark Stadium.
Tomlin doesn’t feel that the stage will be too big for the SEC product, either.
“No question, but to me, “it’s not too big for him” is somewhat mystical,” Tomlin told Labriola. “I like to talk in more tangible ways. Such as, the reasons why it’s not too big for him. He’s a quick study. He came here with a nice level of preparedness, but often times you know you get that from a three-year starter from the Southeastern Conference. That’s the case, and that’s one of the things that’s really attractive about guys who competed in that league. The reputation that league has, there’s a certain readiness associated with it.”
If Moore Jr.’s offseason has been any indication of how he’ll handle his NFL debut in Week 1 on the road against the Bills, he’ll be prepared and should handle the workload well for the Steelers.