With the Steelers’ 2023 offseason underway following a disappointing season that came up just short of reaching the playoffs, it’s time to begin reloading, through the free agency process, through the draft, and perhaps even through trade..
This is now a young team on the offensive side of the ball, though one getting older on defense, and both sides could stand to be supplemented robustly, including in the trenches—either one. Changes have been made to the coaching staff, even if not all of the desired ones, as the roster continues to renew with the weeks ticking by.
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: The Steelers will have a better swing tackle in 2023.
Explanation: The Steelers managed to make do throughout the entirety of the 2022 season with Trent Scott as their swing tackle, one snap away from starting. That was largely because they were fortunate to have never been that one snap away, with Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor combining to miss one snap. They can still make a signing in free agency for a tackle, and obviously the draft is wide open for them to address the position early.
The Steelers have not, by and large, invested very heavily in the offensive line for the past several years. They were spoiled with what they had for a while, and their few swings at replacing what they had have turned up singles, maybe a double or two, and some strikeouts.
But now they have a shiny new franchise quarterback in Kenny Pickett, one who was concussed twice last season, so you’d better believe that they’re going to focus on trying to protect him. They did sign two starters in free agency, both of whom were significant upgrades over their immediate predecessors.
While it’s not likely that they sign a starter at tackle in free agency, they could certainly still afford a Joe Haeg-like signing at tackle. And the odds are pretty good they take a tackle somewhere within their first four or five picks. One of them could even knock Dan Moore Jr. down into swing territory.
As it currently stands, the Steelers have too many holes on their roster to safely predict them adequately addressing any one position. there’s a fairly good chance that they end up re-signing Scott, and I don’t think many people assumed when first signed that he would be the swing man.
After all, nobody in that room knows the Pat Meyer system better than he does, which is what helped him get a bit of a leg up in the first place. With the room depth being turned over once again, he would still be ahead of the curve even if he doesn’t get re-signed until training camp. And there’s never a guarantee a rookie is going to be ready to dress right away, let alone to be a primary backup.