Dan Moore Jr. Not Getting Enough Credit, Najee Harris Argues

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 rookie class was highlighted by plenty of highs. First-round running back Najee Harris and second-round tight end Pat Freiermuth became firmly established starters and productive NFL players. Seventh-round DB Tre Norwood was a pleasant surprise who played a fair amount of snaps. The rookie class also produced lows. Third-round Kendrick Green struggled at center after primarily playing guard in college while another seventh-rounder punter Pressley Harvin III was inconsistent.

Then there’s fourth-rounder Dan Moore Jr. He falls somewhere in between. Thrown into the fire as a Week 1 starter, he played in 16 games as the team’s left tackle with a mixed bag of play but performances that evened out later in the year. Appearing on the Rich Eisen Show Wednesday, Najee Harris went to bat for Moore, saying he hasn’t received enough credit for the job he did in 2021 as he highlighted the improvement he expects the Steelers’ line to make.

“With Dan and [Kendrick Green and Chukwuma Okorafor] all the guys got more experience carrying on this year,” he told the show. “Dan, I don’t think he gets enough recognition of what he did at left tackle going against all the guys. in our league. All the edge rushers we had last year he stood his own.”

When drafted, Moore was expected to be the team’s backup tackle behind Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner. But Banner suffered a late-summer setback in his previously torn ACL, shelving him for the first half of the season. Moore received the nod over veteran Joe Haeg and wound up starting 16 of 17 games. He took his rookie lumps and finished the season allowing 7.5 sacks, the most attributed to a Steelers’ offensive lineman over the last six years. But that number needs context. Six of those sacks allowed came over the first twelve games. He gave up just one sack over the final six, including the Wild Card loss. He had a better showing in his second meeting against Myles Garrett, who torched him in their first meeting.

But he enters Year Two with experience and the chance to learn from all his inevitable rookie mistakes. He has the chance to prove he can be a long-term option for the team, a fixture on the Steelers’ blindside, but 2022 will indicate the direction his career takes. If he struggles, Pittsburgh is likely to look for an upgrade during the offseason. Harris is confident Moore will be better than he was as a wide-eyed rookie. And that he needs to be.

“I always tip my hat to him. But I think this year, he’ll have to do better than he did last year.”

Pittsburgh’s offense likely won’t feature the uber-quick releases Ben Roethlisberger displayed in 2020 (2.3) and 2021 (2.38). There may be fewer RPOs, too. That means Moore and the rest of the Steelers’ line will have to hold their blocks even longer for whoever is at quarterback be it veteran Mitch Trubisky or rookie Kenny Pickett.

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