New series here at Steelers Depot as we dive into the roster position-by-position and look at who may be sitting on the “roster bubble” heading into training camp after the conclusion of free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft. For the next part of this series, we will be looking at several offensive tackles likely fighting for the same roster spots.
The Names To Know:
Joe Haeg (age 29)
As things stand today, Joe Haeg is currently in the driver’s seat to man the swing tackle position for the Pittsburgh Steelers heading into 2022 behind projected starters Chukwuma Okorafor and Dan Moore Jr. Haeg inked a two-year deal with the Steelers last offseason and ended up become the swing tackle last season after Moore was thrust into the starting role while Zach Banner dealt with a setback from his previous knee injury. Haeg ended up starting a game at both tackle spots and logged 318 regular season snaps in 2021. 105 at RT, 94 at LT, 78 at RG, and 41 at LG. He allowed three sacks during his playing time but was only called for one penalty in the time he saw on the field.
As shown in Alex Kozora’s scouting report on Haeg above and my deep-dive film room into the game against the Green Bay Packers where he had to start at RT, Haeg showed that he can be a solid run blocker and a decent pass protector that lacks the athleticism to match speed rushers coming off the edge. Still, Haeg is steady, dependable, and has the versatility to play all the positions on the OL outside of center, making it difficult to see him get the axe unless of injury or if someone below him on the depth chart blows him away in the preseason.
Chaz Green (age 30)
Earlier this January, the Steelers signed OT Chaz Green to a reserve/futures contract. He was initially signed prior to training camp in 2021 to the 90-man roster, but failed to make it past final cuts, ending up on the practice squad. He remained on the practice squad for the entire 2021 season but was elevated to the Active/Inactive roster three times, playing only a few snaps on special teams. When I conducted the film room breakdown of Green after the signing, I came away drastically underwhelmed by his performance at tackle at his previous stops, routinely getting beaten in pass protection while providing unsteady play as a run blocker. Given his age and lack of position flexibility, I would be surprised if Green made the roster.
Trent Scott (age 28)
The Pittsburgh Steelers recently signed UFA Trent Scott to a one-year deal last Friday. While a more versatile player than Green, having played both tackle and guard in the league, Scott projects to provide depth and compete with Green and Joe Haeg for a spot on the outside at least initially in training camp based on the current interior OL depth chart. Scoot brings starting experience and familiarity to the Steelers having played under OL Coach Pat Meyer the last four seasons with the Chargers and Panthers. He has seen action in 53 games and started 19, mainly as a fill in for injury at guard or tackle.
During my film room study on Scott, I found him to be a more accomplished run blocker than pass protector, being able to play in space ok, yet struggles to effectively land his punch and mirror pass rushers due to poor pad level/bad footwork. Scott’s versatility may get him a spot over Green on the practice squad, but he qualifies more as a break-glass option as well given the holes in his game, being a likely better fit at guard than tackle.
Jake Dixon (age 23) & Jordan Tucker (age 23)
I decided to list both Dixon and Tucker here as possible candidates that could fight with the veterans for a roster spot should either one have a great training camp and preseason. Dixon comes from a smaller school in Duquesne University but is a Pittsburgh native and former volleyball player that was highly recruited, initially committing to Lewis University before having a change of heart to play football at the collegiate level. Dixon has good size, standing 6’5 1/8, 310lb and possesses the athleticism to mirror pass rushers and get to in space in the run game. He has short arms though and needs to work on his consistency and getting functionally stronger to hold up at the next level.
Tucker is a hulking tackle prospect that has been added to the fold this offseason by way of UNC, standing 6’6 2/8, 344lb. He has an impressive arm length (35”) and wingspan (84 3/8”), making him the prototype you look for at the tackle position. However, outside of his ability to effectively down block and pull as a run blocker from the tackle spot, Tucker is extremely raw when it comes to technique and execution, often playing with poor hip and knee bend and has his shoulders too far over his toes. He is a liability in pass protection and would be better suited to kick inside to mask his deficiencies.
While both UDFAs have an uphill climb to make the roster, I would put my money on Dixon having a better chance of unseating a veteran or earning a practice squad spot than Tucker based off their college tape.
What are your thoughts on the names listed “on the bubble” at the OT position? Who do you think is safe and who do you think is in danger of losing their roster spot during training camp and the preseason? How do you see this position group shaking outcome the regular season as it stands today/ Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!