With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: Dan Moore Jr. will start at left tackle at least through his rookie contract.
Explanation: Entering his second season, Moore has already started every game in which he has played, and the Steelers have no competition for him at left tackle. He has the opportunity to this year to show growth and establish himself as an uncontested starter, even if he doesn’t necessarily emerge as a ‘franchise’ left tackle that you could never hope to replace.
I softened the topic to, I hope, make it a bit more balanced. The original statement was going to be that Moore would establish himself as the starting left tackle of the foreseeable future, but that goes a bit beyond the scope of where we are and implies that they wouldn’t look to upgrade at tackle in the meantime.
I don’t know that Moore is going to develop so well that he’s going to have a 10-year career as the Steelers’ left tackle, but chances are very good that he’s at least going to end up playing out his rookie contract as the starter.
That’s because he does have the talent to be a starter. He just needs the time to put it all together. Some seem resistant to acknowledging this, but if you watch the tape instead of looking at PFF grades, he showed a lot of improvement over the course of the year.
The Steelers have their franchise quarterback on the roster now and they know they need to protect him. In other words, the offensive line is going to be a high priority until it’s really fixed, and it’s not going to be fixed until they upgrade at left tackle.
Moore might be capable, but he’s not a plus starter. He’s somebody you’ll always be looking to upgrade if it makes sense under any circumstances, but when you have a young franchise quarterback you’re trying to establish, you’re going to look even harder for the answer rather than settle for what’s there. A tackle by the end of day two is extremely likely in next year’s draft, and they’ll probably sign a mid-tier veteran as well after taking care of the interior via free agency this offseason.