We are already heading toward late June, and thus far, every indication that the Pittsburgh Steelers have given is that they view second-year lineman Dan Moore Jr. as their left tackle for the 2022 season. The 2021 fourth-round draft pick started all but one game there last season, missing one due to injury, and they have not brought in any notable competition even though he had a very uneven year.
The plan wasn’t for him to start for the vast majority of the offseason, but a week or two in advance of the season opener, projected right tackle Zach Banner had a setback with his knee, which caused the coaches to decide to move Chukwuma Okorafor back from left tackle to the right side to allow the rookie Moore to start on the left, where he played in college and where he looked much more comfortable.
He was thrown into the fire last year, but he believes that he grew from it, and he is better prepared entering his second season to develop into that starting left tackle that the Steelers believed they saw in him coming out of Texas A&M last year.
“Just not feeling like a rookie, that’s the best way I can put it”, he told reporters earlier this month about his comfort level heading into this season, via 93.7 The Fan. “Knowing how to take care of my body, knowing things I need to work on. Knowing the speed of the game and different defenders and what guys are good at. What it takes to block good defenders in this league”.
If you’ve been reading us for any length of time then you have probably read 1,000 times about how important the transition from a player’s first year to his second is. It’s something head coach Mike Tomlin talks about every year, about how much better young players should be after their first “lap around the track”.
The Steelers have at least three offensive starters now who are returning after their first lap around the track, Moore being one of them, and in whom the coaching staff expects to see genuine improvement.
The team could have done a lot more investing in the tackle position this offseason. They signed two starters along the interior offensive line, but they only added a journeyman who has followed new offensive line coach Pat Meyer along throughout his NFL career, now to Pittsburgh. He will likely be competing for the ninth lineman spot with Chaz Green—not for a starting job.
Considering he was in a much better position to do so last year, it stands to reason that Joe Haeg isn’t going to be thrown into the mix to try to compete with Moore. The left tackle job is his, beyond any lip service the team might pay to competition. Unless they bring in somebody new from outside the organization, it’s sink or swim time, so here’s hoping he doesn’t look like a rookie, now that he no longer is one.