Steelers News

Dan Moore Jr. Was Told Right Away To ‘Be Ready’ To Start

In uncustomary fashion, the Pittsburgh Steelers utilized their rookie draft class more than the vast majority of teams in the NFL this season, which included four starters on the offensive side of the ball, a starting punter, and two significant contributors on defense.

Nobody from the group played more snaps than fourth-round draft pick Dan Moore Jr., who started 17 games, including the postseason, at left tackle. When he was first drafted, many assumed that he would have a redshirt year; however, Adrian Klemm, the offensive line coach at the time, was quick to say that he expected Moore to compete right away.

And Moore, who would of course eventually go on the start, told reporters yesterday that he was indeed told the same things privately that his position coach at the time told him right after he was drafted: Put in the work, and you might not have to wait your turn.

I will say that, from the moment I was drafted, I was prompted and told that, ‘Hey, this could be happening. I don’t want to leave you out of the loop. Just be ready’”, he said. “I kind of went in with the mindset that I could be in this thing starting day one”.

There is a caveat to his starting season. The projected starting offensive line that the Steelers appears to be working with included Chukwuma Okorafor at left tackle and Zach Banner at right tackle. After Banner had a setback with his ACL rehab late in the preseason, the team moved Okorafor back to the right side (where he started 16 games in 2020), and plugged in Moore at left tackle, where he was more comfortable.

He would go on to log 1,080 snaps on the season, only four fewer than right guard Trai Turner for the most on the team on offense. He missed the regular-season finale due to an ankle sprain that he suffered early the week before, which he played through; he suggested it was a coaching decision to hold him out.

In spite of the heavy workload over the course of the year, which he admitted “was definitely a lot of football”, he also said it wasn’t too much football. “It was always a pleasure coming in the building, being around the guys. Coming to work was always fun”.

While he was no Rashawn Slater, the rookie did show starting traits, and if he continues to grow, he has the potential to lock down a long-term starting role. He told reporters that he has already learned about himself that he can compete at this level and that he can endure a full season. That’s a big part of the fight for a rookie; it’s all growing from here.

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