Steelers News

OT Among Pittsburgh’s Biggest Draft Needs In 2023 Per PFF, ‘Can’t Afford To Continue To Play Dan Moore Jr.’

More than in many a year, surely, Pittsburgh Steelers fans are increasingly turning their attention early to the next draft. One can hardly blame the fanbase of a team that is sitting at 2-6 without clear and obvious prospects for a second-half turnaround when they seem more interested in draft coverage than pre-game discussions.

To that crowd is this article directed, and as a friendly reminder, they’re going to have an extra second-round pick this time around thanks to their decision to trade wide receiver, Chase Claypool, last week. It’s likely to be a high draft pick, coming from the 3-6 Chicago Bears, but wide receiver is not among their biggest needs.

Not according to Pro Football Focus, anyway, who published an article this morning breaking down the top positional needs of every team entering the second half of the 2022 season. The three positions highlighted for the last-place Steelers were offensive tackle, cornerback, and inside linebacker, with the most damning remarks reserved for the first position.

“The Steelers can’t afford to continue to play Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle”, Marcus Mosher writes in his blurb about Pittsburgh’s draft needs. “He is one of 18 tackles to have allowed at least 20 pressures thus far, and his 50.5 run-blocking grade is a bottom-10 mark among more than 80 qualifying tackles through Week 9”.

Moore, a second-year fourth-year draft selection out of Texas A&M, has started every game of his career up to this point failing one, which he missed due to injury. But that has been primarily due to a lack of alternatives.

The Steelers’ top backup tackle at the moment is Trent Scott, a journeyman who has followed new offensive line coach Pat Meyer along his way from Los Angeles to Carolina and finally to Pittsburgh. Beyond that, they have Jesse Davis, who is more comfortable at guard.

Chukwuma Okorafor is their starting right tackle, and arguably their most consistent lineman on what is an underperforming group as a whole. The Steelers just re-signed him to a three-year contract this offseason, so he’s not going anywhere next year.

But they have Devin Bush and Robert Spillane at inside linebacker and Cameron Sutton at cornerback all set to be free agents next year, without much staying power otherwise. Linebacker Myles Jack has largely acquitted himself well and is under contract for 2023, but that’s about it.

Pittsburgh signed or re-signed cornerbacks Levi Wallace, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Arthur Maulet this offseason, and just traded for William Jackson III, but the former group is really nothing special and the latter, if he can turn things around in a more fitting system, has a big cap hit next year if they don’t extend him after the season.

The truth is that the Steelers have no shortage of ‘need’ positions. You can certainly include wide receiver as well, and guard, perhaps center. Defensive tackle, or the defensive line in general, and depth at outside linebacker is a need. They will need a starting safety with both Terrell Edmunds and Damontae Kazee free agents in 2023. We might as well just list every position at this point, though.

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