When rookie fourth-round draft pick Dan Moore Jr. was pushed into the starting lineup at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers right out of the gate due to injuries and underwhelming play from teammates, growing pains and overall struggles were expected from a guy out of Texas A&M that was viewed as more of a developmental tackle than a day one starter.
To his credit, Moore Jr. has handled the tough task of protecting Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side pretty well through eight weeks. He’s had his struggles at times, including last week in Cleveland against All-Pro and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Myles Garrett, but overall he’s been a steady force in the run game and is finding his footing in pass protection.
His growth and development is something that’s noticeable on tape week to week, and is not lost on Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin addressed Moore Jr.’s growth during his weekly Mike Tomlin Show, presented by 84 Lumber.
“I think he’s getting increasingly more comfortable with each passing week, but that’s a reasonable expectation. Like we’ve been talking, these guys grow immensely with each passing week,” Tomlin said to Bob Pompeani during his weekly show, according to video via the Steelers’ YouTube page. “They’ve been presented with some awesome challenges. Some game wreckers, some Defensive Player of the Year-type people in this last four games, a quarter of the season, if you will. We saw Von Miller in Denver, we saw Myles Garrett last week, and now we get an opportunity to see Khalil Mack, and so we’re talking about Defensive Player of the Year caliber people, guys that are known game wreckers. And I think more than anything, I think our guys embrace the challenge of rising up in the face of that adversity. And I think they gained confidence with each passing week when they get an opportunity to see some of these guys that pit their skills against theirs and improve them themselves, that they belong and are capable.”
Tomlin’s comments about Moore Jr. and the rest of the young offensive line echo a comment he made earlier in the show, stating the the line “lacks experience, not talent,” which is spot on from the Steelers’ veteran head coach.
Moore Jr. and fellow rookie lineman Kendrick Green, along with left guard Kevin Dotson, were not high draft picks whatsoever, but that doesn’t mean they lack talent. They’re all starting to find their footing up front and will only get better as the season progresses and they gain that valuable experience.
As that happens, the talent will really start to show, and the line should be in a good place overall.