When it comes to Steeler Nation, everyone and their mother (and their grandmother, and their great grandmother) has an opinion on everything, and they’re all going to get it out there. Former quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, now retired, is just another member of the Nation at this point, but he has a podcast, so that helps.
And would you believe it? He wants the Steelers to draft offensive linemen. Which isn’t a bad idea, after all, but quarterbacks are always going to have a certain amount of bias when it comes to the men up front keeping them upright. Roethlisberger shared some of his thoughts on the team’s potential draft needs in the latest episode of his Footbahlin podcast posted yesterday.
“I thought they should go lineman maybe to protect, but maybe they feel comfortable with these two guards they got”, he said. “I think they probably feel comfortable still with Chuks [Okorafor] at right tackle and with Dan Moore, who I really like, at left tackle”.
Well, that’s an interesting comment. Are the Steelers really comfortable with Okorafor and Moore as their starting tackles? The former has been a starter for three years, the latter two, and I don’t think many people would describe either as anything more than average.
A fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M in 2021, Moore was thrust into the starting lineup as a rookie just before the start of the regular season. The Steelers had planned for Okorafor to move to left tackle with Zach Banner, returning from a torn ACL, moving back to the starting lineup at right tackle.
An injury setback for Banner blew up those plans very late in the process, however, so with Moore far more comfortable playing left tackle, the coaches put him there and moved Okorafor back to right tackle. That’s how things have been for the past two seasons.
While both of them have shown some progress during that time, either of position could certainly be upgraded, which is why many outside of Pittsburgh feel that offensive tackle should be very high on their list for consideration in the first round, along with cornerback. But Roethlisberger isn’t necessarily talking about the first round.
“I think you gotta just figure out what you want to do”, he said, referring to draft intentions for the line. “Do you want depth? Do you want to add something in the interior? . . . Do you want to go grab a young center and let him learn the ropes and everything?”
What there can be no debate about is the fact that the Steelers need more tackles. For the moment, the starters are the only credible tackles on the roster with no significant depth. Among those who may not be in the starting lineup, Nate Herbig could play some tackle in a pinch, but you wouldn’t want him as your swing tackle.
I suspect that two tackles who are not currently on the roster will be on the 53 when the regular season begins—one a draft pick, hopefully a rather high one and potentially a starter, and the other a modestly priced veteran, possibly even re-signing Trent Scott, who was the swing tackle a year ago.