A very strong argument could be made that the weakest position on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ entire roster is that of offensive tackle. Not only do they lack depth, neither of their projected starters are even rated, no matter how much optimism they may have internally about their potential for improvement over time.
Dan Moore Jr. projects to return to left tackle after starting all but one game there last season, with Chukwuma Okorafor at right tackle, where he has been the primary starter for the past two years. There are some caveats there, of course.
Okorafor did not enter either of the past two seasons as the intended right tackle. He was to be a backup in 2020 behind Zach Banner. A year ago, he was meant to move to left tackle, with Banner returning from a torn ACL, but a setback for the latter caused the team to push Okorafor back to right tackle—and to throw a rookie Moore into the starting lineup—just weeks before the start of the regular season.
So is one is looking for it, there is some room for optimism that this duo can still grow. After all, neither of them got to play the position, or at least role, they were preparing for all offseason. Still, as it currently stands, it’s no shock to see both of them left off of Pro Football Focus’ ranking of the top 32 tackles in the league—nor among the two honorable mentions.
In other words, on average, every single team has at least one starting tackle better than both Moore and Okorafor, if not two. If we take the site’s overall tackle rankings from last season, and account for playing time by setting the minimum to 50 percent snaps, we see that they have Okorafor ranked 44th among 54 qualifying tackles. Moore ranks 50th of 54.
Neither of them rank much better in either run-blocking or pass-blocking, either—they were both measured to be similarly inadequate all around for their performances a year ago. if, again, one is looking for optimism, however, according to the site’s own game-by-game grades, both of them did play better in the second half of the season than the first.
I do think that both will improve this year, with Okorafor potentially benefitting from a more stable offseason process—that is, consistently preparing for right tackle—and having a right guard of the caliber of James Daniels next to him.
For Moore, again, he was thrown into the starting lineup about two weeks before the start of the regular season, as a rookie. Second-year players are always expected to make a jump, and he has plenty of playing time under his belt to draw from.