The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. The Steelers started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered. We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: What is the more important target position in the first round: tackle or cornerback?
With the Steelers acquiring pieces to shore up their interior offensive line over the past two years— consisting entirely of outside free-agent signings—the attention shifts to the tackle position in an effort to ‘finish off’ the group.
Chukwuma Okorafor is a three-year starter at right tackle and going into his sixth season, all in Pittsburgh. Dan Moore Jr. has started every game of his career over the past two seasons. Neither of them would be mistaken for anything more than average starters, at best, however.
One would imagine that tackle is high on the Steelers’ priority list moving forward when examining their roster for projected starters. If it’s not at the very top, then cornerback might take its place. And many, many analysts have been pairing Pittsburgh with a cornerback at 17th overall.
But all else being neutral, what position should the Steelers be addressing with their top pick? Is it indeed the cornerback position, with somebody like Joey Porter Jr.? Or should it be an offensive tackle, possibly somebody who can start right away and push either Moore or Okorafor into a very good swing role?
There are, of course, other possibilities elsewhere on the roster. It doesn’t have to be either a tackle or a cornerback, though I expect that with the moves the team has already made, those will be the most popular choices moving forward.
A quality tackle could give the Steelers the makings of a very good offensive line. A quality starting cornerback paired with Patrick Peterson and Minkah Fitzpatrick could have the same effect on the secondary.
Both are positions that rely heavily upon communication within the group, making it all the more imperative to get things ‘right’. A home run or even a triple with the top selection could have a transformative effect on one of these two groups. In a vacuum, which is more important?