PFF Identifies Veteran OL As Potential Post-Draft Signing For Steelers

Coming out of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason 90-man roster is mostly set at this point.

However, as other teams across the league dive back into the free agency market thanks to the compensatory picks window passing on Monday, could the Steelers get involved again in free agency, jumping back into the trenches to grab some experience?

Pro Football Focus certainly believes so, identifying veteran free agent left tackle Eric Fisher as an ideal fit for the Steelers and a signing that makes “the most sense” post-draft.

Fisher, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, spent eight seasons with the Chiefs as their starting left tackle before tearing his Achilles in the 2020 AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills. Shortly thereafter, the Chiefs cut him in a cap crunch, leading to Fisher signing with the Indianapolis Colts last summer on a one-year contract as he worked back from the torn Achilles.

Once cleared, Fisher really struggled in pass protection, posting the second-worst grade of his career from PFF in his return to the field. Those struggles ultimately led to the Colts letting him walk in free agency this offseason, resulting in him remaining on the market post-draft.

That’s where the Steelers could come in, according to PFF’s Ben Linsey.

“The Steelers’ draft signaled a vote of confidence in their offensive linemen, as not one of the team’s seven draft selections addressed the offensive line. That includes late on Day 3 when teams typically look to add some depth,” Linsey writes. “After a shaky start to his NFL career, Fisher has settled in as a middle-of-the-road starter at left tackle. He’s earned PFF grades of at least 68.0 in each of the last seven years — over 10 points higher than the 57.5 PFF grade that rookie Dan Moore Jr. earned for the Steelers in 2021. Fisher could compete with Moore for the starting job next season while improving the depth at a position that looks thin if either Moore or Chukwuma Okorafor is lost to injury.”

Fisher was rather solid as a run blocker for the Colts, who were relatively run heavy throughout the 2021 season, but when asked to protect quarterback Carson Wentz, Fisher was often the weak link of a strong Colts’ offensive line.

While he did post a better grade than Dan Moore Jr. did as a rookie, Fisher is seemingly trending in the wrong direction physically, as he also dealt with a pectoral and knee injury down the stretch in 2021, leading to a significant regression late in the season which really hindered the Colts’ offense.

Though Fisher would be relatively cheap at this point coming off of a down season and remaining on the market this late into the offseason, there’s very little chance the Steelers would kick the tires on him, considering he’s 31 years old, along with the fact that the Steelers very clearly believe in Moore and Okorafor at the tackle positions, as well as Haeg in his reserve role.

Pittsburgh might very well add a veteran offensive tackle prior to training camp, but it likely won’t be one of Fisher’s stature.

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