Despite all of the work Pittsburgh Steelers’ General Manager Kevin Colbert put into fixing the porous offensive line in free agency this offseason, there is still a ton of concern about the offensive line in the Steel City ahead of the 2022 season from the national media’s perspective.
According to Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport, who broke down the biggest red flag for all 32 teams ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers’ offensive line — not quarterback — remains the biggest red flag for the black and gold moving forward.
That comes as a bit of a surprise, considering Colbert was able to retain right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor on a three-year, $29.25 million deal, while also adding the likes of interior offensive linemen Mason Cole and James Daniels in free agency on three-year deals. Along with the flurry of moves in free agency, left guard Kevin Dotson should be fully recovered from an ankle injury suffered last season that hindered his play, and Dan Moore Jr. should be able to build off of a mostly-positive rookie season at left tackle, giving the Steelers some stability in the trenches.
Davenport still doesn’t quite believe in the offensive line on paper, at least right now.
“If [Mitch] Trubisky and the Pittsburgh Steelers have any chance of competing in a division with Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, though, the franchise’s new quarterback needs a better offensive line,” Davenport writes. “Not just in pass protection, too—Pittsburgh hasn’t finished higher than 29th in rushing since 2017.
“To be fair, the Steelers have made an effort to improve the line, bringing in center Mason Cole and guard James Daniels and re-signed tackle Chukwuma Okorafor. However, left tackle remains a looming question mark, with Dan Moore Jr. slated to start after surrendering seven sacks over a shaky rookie season.”
It’s easy to understand the concerns about Moore Jr., especially when considering he wasn’t even supposed to be playing last year before being inserted into the starting lineup due to an injury to Zach Banner days before the start of the season. That said, Moore Jr. improved each and every week, and certainly has a bright future ahead overall.
Pittsburgh’s offensive line was rather poor in 2021 though, so the stink will remain — at least until games get underway.