2023 NFL Draft

Evaluating The Steelers’ Offensive Tackle Options In The 2023 NFL Draft

First things first. Let’s trim out some nonsense before getting to the guts of this.

  • QUOTE: Chuks Okorafor sucks donut holes, Dan Moore Jr. makes Okorafor look like a genius! The team is doomed, doomed, Doomed!!! And if one of them gets hurt (a statistical certainty because the refs hate us, the league is against us, and the Ravens, Browns and Bengals are peopled entirely with criminals) we’ll all be Double Dog Doomed, and I’ll be forced to relocate to my secret bunker in the woods!

Take some Xanax friend, with a valium chaser and a fifth of your favorite good times juice. Okorafor has matured into a nice, average Tackle who’s better against the pass and weaker as a run blocker. We all want “great,” not “average,” but let’s keep a bit of perspective. As for Dan Moore Jr., he went in Round 4 for a reason, is still only 24 years old, and has improved in every year so far. No, he hasn’t arrived yet, and yes, he is still a penalty machine. But O-Line is a hard position to master, and he’s on a good path. If you don’t trust me, remember that Ben Roethlisberger famously called Moore, “the Left Tackle of the future for this football team,” and we’ve heard nothing but good from the coaching staff and insiders. So how about we save the panic for what happens when Moore or Okorafor get injured?

Oh. And about that bunker? No. Just… no. How could you keep up on your Steelers Depot scouting reports?

  • QUOTE: Chill out Dude. Like, what are you worrying about? Sure, they sorta sucked in the first half of the year. But, like, didn’t they play great in the second half? They looked groovy running over all those cream puffs, and Pickett only got two concussions. Do you know how many Bradshaw probably got? Just listen to the man talk. He gives me visions – like really good ones! – about doctors who used Baby T for punting practice. Here, have a puff of this to even out your, like, discombobulated ‘tude. [Giggle]

My friend, you and I have a different definition of “great.” I won’t be truly happy until the OL (a) can carry the load when the QB, RBs, or WRs have a bad day, and (b) has a hope of surviving if a starter gets hurt. Until then, please keep the ganja to yourself, so the rest of us can have some fun looking for ways to reach that level. We ain’t there yet, not by a long shot.

Oh. You’re not planning to drive, are you?


[Sigh] Hard to believe we really need to go through that year after year, isn’t it? [Sigh again] Okay, let’s move on to Grownup Land. Teams aim to keep five (5) Tackle-capable players on the roster: a starting Left Tackle (“LT”), starting Right Tackle (“RT”), a swing Tackle (“OT3”), emergency, multiposition OL depth (“G/T4”), and a practice squad journeyman (“OT5”). Pittsburgh currently has:

  • LT = Dan Moore Jr., 6’5″, 315 lbs. Selected at 4:128 in the 2021 draft at the age of 22, when he was described in our Big Board as “a very good Top 10% athlete with no particular flaws and good explosion numbers… [i.e.] a utility backup with the potential to improve.” Hearts soared when he survived as a rookie pushed into early service, and then sagged when 2022 saw predictable growing pains and penalties. Heads, however, have always seen the same thing: steady improvement toward a still-unknown result. With “C” being the Mike Tomlin line for basic competence, I would personally give Moore a D for the first half of the year, which would have been a D- if some of his woes couldn’t be charged to both the issues at LG and Moore’s struggles to absorb a new approach from Coach Pat Meyer. From the Bye on I would give him a C+. What will he be in 2023? No one can say beyond “better than 2022.” TBH, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a Top 12-16 Tackle in Year 5. Maybe better. But that leaves a lot of room to worry about Years 3 and 4. VERDICT: IMPROVABLE BUT NOT A HOLE.
  • RT = Chuks Okorafor, 6’6″, 320 lbs. Selected at 3:92 of the 2018 draft from tiny Western Michigan (age 20), he has matured into a Tackle (age 25) who’s probably in the 22-26 range as a run blocker, and the 10-14 range as a pass protector. People, that is 2 months younger than Kenny Pickens! His game has plateaued a bit, but at that age there is still a lot of time to improve – especially as he and his linemates continue to gel while absorbing more of coach Pat Meyer’s somewhat unique approach to blocking technique. VERDICT: IMPROVABLE BUT NOT A HOLE.
  • OT3 = Trent Scott, 6’5″, 320 lbs. [UFA]. A 29-year-old journeyman with a longtime connection to Coach Meyer. He knows how to do what the coach wants, and I believe he’s probably helped his teammates to understand it a little faster. Alas, but he’s just not particularly good at doing the actual job. VERDICT: LOCKER ROOM PLUS, BUT ON-FIELD MINUS. A DEFINITE “WANT.”
  • G/T4 = Jesse Davis, 6’6″, 309 lbs. [UFA]. Forgot about him, didn’t you? Going into his 7th year, Davis has started 80 games and played every OL position but Center. In 2028 he earned a 3-year, $15 Million extension to be Miami’s RG where he earned a low C grade. The Vikings signed him to a 1 year, $3 Million deal for 2022, and then traded him to Pittsburgh for a conditional 7th that probably wasn’t earned. He didn’t play because no one got hurt, but his presence eased a lot of angst. Could he be resigned cheap? Possibly… and maybe Coach Meyer’s extra-aggressive approach would help since he supposedly lacks a little on the nastiness side. VERDICT: A VERY GOOD EMERGENCY BACKUP. EVALUATE AFTER FREE AGENCY.
  • PST = Empty. A “NEED.”


Two improvable starters, an OT3 to replace, and a hole or two at the bottom of the roster. To me that adds up to a potential pick at any point in the draft, but a position that better not be ignored.

  • If a Round 1 bargain is there, fantastic: let him compete with the two starters, which will make all three players better and turn OT3 from a liability into a decided strength.
  • Same thing if a Round 2-4 bargain is there, though it might be even better to find a versatile player who could fill both the OT3 and OG3 spots at the same time. The OL depth as a whole would get much, much better, and there would still be room for developmental talent in Round 7 or the UDFA ranks.
  • And if no Tackle is a bargain until Round 7? Get one to fill the pipeline, and then regretfully blow some of the budget reserve on next year’s version of Trent Scott or Jesse Davis.
  • After that? The pipeline is empty and needs to be filled even if it’s only with long shots. One UDFA should be mandatory, and two to three would be that much better.

VERDICT: Offensive Tackle may not be the emergency situation that some have described, but it is a weak spot that should be seriously considered at every point in the draft, especially in light of the empty pipeline.


REQUESTS FOR HELP: These are preliminary grades that are subject to change at all levels, and almost certain to change in that crucial Round 2-4 group. I am NOT comfortable with those grades, and strongly request your input. I am also 100% sure that I’m missing 5-10 names who deserve to have Day 3 grades. Please list those you know down in the comments, hopefully with a brief description and a suggestion for their starting grades.

1:05 OT/G Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio St. (Junior). 6’6”, 315 lbs. with ___” arms and ___” hands. Will be a 22-year-old rookie. A 5-star athlete all day and every day, the only complaints would be that his technique (the punch in particular) and gut-level understanding of the position need work. Tyler Wise’s gif-supported Depot scouting report shows a huge man who moves as smoothly as many TEs, and maybe even most TEs. Special stuff. Also has experience at both RG and LT, which bodes very well. Came in at #14 on Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 list. A1
1:05 OT/G Broderick Jones, Georgia (RS Soph). 6’4”, 315 lbs. with ___” arms and ___” hands. Will be a 22-year-old rookie. The anchor OL for a dominant team, with plenty of power and experience, plus the 5-star athleticism to become truly special. Superb ability to mirror, match, and ride speed rushers beyond the pocket. May not “hit” right away because he needs to work on his hand fighting (clapping habit in particular) and would benefit from building to superior play strength instead of just good; but those are typical complaints and also highlight the fact that he has room to improve. Michael Rochman’s gif-supported Depot scouting report is darned close to a rave review. Came in at #15 on Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 list. A1
1:10 C/G/OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern (Junior). 6’4”, 294 lbs. (or 6’5”, 315 lbs.) with ___” arms and ___” hands. ___ years old on draft day. The most intriguing OL in the draft, Skoronski comes from the same program that trained up Rashawn Slater and has everything you want in an OL but pure size and length. Came in at the #6 overall player on Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 list. His technique is extraordinary for a college player, his foot speed and agility are special, and he is also as versatile as they come: a Center all through High School, a Tackle all through college, and built like a speed-oriented guard. What will he be as a pro? And will he end up being versatile, or “merely” a backup to every spot on the OL? I lean toward the positives because undersized OL technicians have had a lot of success in recent years; see Slater, Vera-Tucker, Linderbaum, etc. The NFL scouting report by (OL coach’s son) Lance Zirlein sees an average Tackle because of his length limitations, but a first-year starter and future star at Guard. A1
1:25 OT/G Anton Harrison, Oklahoma (Junior). 6’5”, 310 lbs. with ___” arms and ___” hands. Turned 21 in February. Started as a true Freshman, he has been consistently good at LT with a sterling record of preventing sacks or even pressures. He also comes to the league Steelers-young. Built like he was designed to be an NFL Tackle, Harrison has all the assets you want: quick feet, a nasty (if sometimes less effective) approach to the run game, good length, and hands that are fast, fairly accurate, and strong. He’s just… unfinished, as you might expect from his age. He either ‘knows how to play within himself’ or ‘could use a nastier edge’ depending on your POV. Will benefit from both an NFL conditioning room to fill him out, and NFL coaching to fully internalize the essentials, but with that profile he seems to be an easy projection. A fantastic pick for Year 3, and probably someone who will perform solidly in Year 2, but unlikely to shine as a rookie because grown NFL professionals will figure him out. A1
1:25 OT Dawand Jones, Ohio St. (Senior). 6’8⅛”, 375 lbs. with absolutely absurd 36⅝” arms and 11⅜” hands. 21, turns 22 in August. Those seemingly impossible measurements are official results from the Senior Bowl. Wow. Jones is a brutal giant of a Right Tackle who has every asset you want except good COD skills. Jones also has the two-sport basketball background that Pittsburgh prefers, and experience at both left and right Tackle. According to Ross McCorkle’s gif-supported Depot scouting report, Jones is actually better at pass protection than he is at run blocking because his crazy length, overall size, and smooth vertical set make it extremely hard to get the edge. May be a particular fit for the Steelers because his aggressive approach and independent hand usage line up perfectly with the philosophy of O-Line coach Pat Meyer. Mirrors well, especially for a man his size, but can get grabby. Too slow to be good at pulling and climbing in the run game, but he does handle reach blocks well, pins an edge just fine, and his size/strength combination should eventually make him good at digging people out. A1
2:01 OT Darnell Wright, Tennessee (Senior). 6’5⅛”, 342 lbs. with 34⅛” arms and small for his size 8½” hands. 21, turns 22 in August. Your classic people-moving Right Tackle in 2021 who played LT in 2022 and did surprisingly well. Or at least it seemed surprising until he looked so good that he won the Senior Bowl OL Practice Player of the Week, which seems to have triggered/confirmed some specific interest on Pittsburgh’s part. Chandler Stroud’s gif-supported Depot scouting report describes a player who is big, long, strong, and smart enough to use all those assets well. He’s also a splendid athlete who mirrors well, which suggests that dropping some weight might give him extra movement skills and help with his endurance. Tends to get upright or be a waist bender when the gas tank runs low. Can be more of a technician than a bully despite his size. Has shown the ability to dig out stubborn opponents in the run game, and can reach, pin, and hold the edge quite well, but not very good at pulling or climbing to the second level. Came in at #32 in Daniel Jeremiah’s initial Top 50 list.This scouting profile from the well-respected Brandon Thorn ends in a later-1st grade as an athletic and physical tone setter who would fit best in a downhill running game. A1
2:24 OT/G Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse (Senior). 6’4⅞”, 323 lbs. with 33⅝” arms and 9½” hands. Turned 23 in February. A four year starter on both the left and right sides, he is a fine mover and good technician who will benefit a lot from NFL strength training, and from coaching on all the subtleties of the position. Originally from Quebec. Has played both RT and LT. One of the best performers at the Senior Bowl, where he was nice and steady, proving that he could mirror anyone there, and also looking good when moved inside to Guard. This goes to a TDN Senior Bowl interview. A1
2:24 OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland (Senior). 6’5½”, 298 lbs. with 33½” arms and 9⅜” hands. 22, turns 23 in July. Do you remember that scene with the strafing run at the end of the original Star Wars? “Almost there. Almost… there…” Duncan is a near-elite athlete with moderate size, and only-good experience, technique, and overall conditioning. His movement skills are so good that he’s not going to lose an edge to anyone, but he needs coaching to avoid getting beat by pro-level strength and infighting technique. Expect a lot of holding penalties until he does. One of those really fine prospects who has great tools but needs to raise or compensate for every part of his game, yet every part is almost… there… One can also question his fit vis a vis the size/length assets Coach Pat Meyer prefers; Duncan is more of a supersized TE in the Chuks Okorafor mold, and his arm length is acceptable rather than special. Played extremely well at LT during Senior Bowl week, but very unnatural when shifted to RT. A1
2:24 G/T Cody Mauch, N. Dak. St. (Senior). 6’4⅞”, 305 lbs. with very short 32⅛” arms and 9⅝” hands. Turned 24 in January. A1
3:01 OT Tyler Steen, Alabama by way of Vanderbilt (Senior). 6’5½”, 325 lbs. with 33” arms and big 10¾” hands. 22, turns 23 in June. First, he has all the athletic talent needed to play Tackle in the NFL. His feet are nimble enough to do the job against anyone, and he has tremendous range for getting to the second level. He also made significant and continuing gains as the season went by, which bodes very well if you project the same sort of thing moving forward. The downsides come down to a moderate amount of country strength, only acceptable length, and the normal inconsistencies to be expected of any OT outside of Round 1. A1
3:12 OT Blake Freeland, BYU (Senior). 6’7½”, 312 lbs. with 34” arms and 10” hands. 21, turns 22 in May. An exceptionally long, tall, and fairly slender OT in the mold of a Chuks Okorafor or Al Villanueva: athletic, mobile, and strong enough to be a fine positional blocker. He also has the heart of a lineman and is quite willing to be physical. It’s just that he’s a long, tall drink of water with a high center of gravity, and the Senior Bowl showed some lack of play strength. This is a basic flaw that will cripple his NFL career unless/until he can develop expert technique, and add some required mass to his body; both of which seem likely from Year 2 on. A1
3:12 OT/G Warren McClendon, Georgia (Junior). 6’4”, 290 lbs. with long 34” arms and 10” hands. Will be a 22-year-old rookie. You expect Right Tackles to be enormous, relatively slow-footed 6’7” monsters who weigh anywhere from 330 on up. The national champion Georgia Bulldogs went the opposite route, with a sleek, quick-footed Tackle who comes in at 3” shorter and 40 lbs. lighter. But those numbers are deceiving. McClendon has the arms of a taller man and used to weigh as much as 320, and the current version has almost no extra weight at all. The result has been all the foot speed needed to more or less neutralize Top 5 pick Will Anderson Jr. when the two faced off a year ago, plus some room to add bulk back on in an NFL weight room. He run blocks with serious attitude, can climb to the next level as well as anyone, has a good strong punch, and projects as a top-notch Guard if his size proves to be a problem at Tackle. Injured in the January car crash that killed a fellow O-Lineman and an athletic staffer, but not enough to harm his draft prospects. A1
4:01 OT/G Asim Richards, N. Car. (Senior). 6’4”, 307 lbs. with 34⅛” arms and 10” hands. 22, turns 23 in October. A strong, nasty, very physical run blocker who excels at pulling and getting to the second level. His pass protection skills are basically average, with a need to work on various details like hand fighting and quicker feet. The big flaw is a tendency to be late off the ball, which is very strange for an athlete who was good enough to play TE and DT in addition to Tackle. A Day 3 bargain for sure if he can clean that up. A1
4:01 OT Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion (Senior). 6’6”, 311 lbs. with 33⅜” arms and big 10½” hands. 22, turns 23 in August. Team captain. Good mobility with an effective punch and solid experience at a lower level. Adequate athleticism. Better at positional and zone blocking than at old-fashioned, dig-’em-out, dirty work. This goes to the TDN scouting profile, which ends in a Round 4 grade. Here is a good Senior Bowl interview with Alex Kozora. A1
4:16 OT/G Wanya Morris, Oklahoma by way of Tennessee (Senior). 6’4⅞”, 317 lbs. with exceptional 35⅜” arms and 10¼” hands. 22, turns 23 in October. Has experience at both RT and LT. A 5 star athlete with great length and good strength, he has never developed consistent technique to take advantage of all his natural advantages. Will get out over his feet and lunge. A1
5:01 OT Carter Warren, Pitt (RS Senior). 6’5⅜”, 323 lbs. with long 35” arms and 9⅛” hands. Turned 24 in January. The man on Kenny Pickett’s blindside in college, Warren is big, strong, long, and athletic, but lost his 2023 to an unidentified injury back in October that was severe enough for him to still be going through rehab in February. A team captain and a fine human being off the field, he could do with being a little nastier while he’s on it. His dimensions suggest the ability to move inside if he needs to. A1
5:16 OT Richard Gouraige, Florida (RS Junior). 6’4⅞”, 308 lbs. with 34” arms and 10” hands. 24, turns 25 in October. A good, solid, college Tackle with NFL upside, who won’t be a help to anyone at the next level unless/until he can clean up some glaring problems with his footwork and balance. Those are things one can learn, though it takes time. The hidden upside is that better footwork cascades into better performance in every aspect of the game, so Gouraige may have hidden upside. A1
6:01 OT Kadeem Telfort, UAB by way of Florida (Senior). 6’7”, 319 lbs. with massive 35⅞” arms smallish 8½” hands. Wonderful natural gifts, including some fairly astonishing length. He also mirrors and moves extremely well. The downgrade comes from Telfort’s role in a massive credit card scandal when he was a Florida freshman. He was charged with 30 counts of criminal fraud over $20,000 of purchases ranging from iPads to Gummy Worms. So was he a bad criminal actor, or a stupid college freshman who committed criminal acts that he’s now grown past? The Florida justice system seems to thing the former based on a plea deal to one 3rd-degree felony plus probation and court costs. Make your own judgment. He sounds like an impressive young man in this interview with Depot’s Joe Clark at the Shrine Bowl. A1
6:16 OT Joey Fisher, Shepherd (Senior). 6’3½”, 292 lbs. with extremely short 32” arms and 10¼” hands. ____ years old in ____. An extremely good athlete who dominated his D-II opponents. His stock fell drastically when the Senior Bowl showed him to be 3” shorter and 25 lbs. lighter than advertised. A1
7:01 OT Quinton Barrow, Grand Valley St. (Senior). 6’5⅜”, 322 lbs. with 34¼” arms and 9⅝” hands. 22, turns 23 in June. A Shrine Bowl standout from an extremely small program who has now proved he can play with the big boys. Or at least the Shrine Bowl medium boys. A1
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