Despite all of the changes the Pittsburgh Steelers have made to their roster this offseason, there’s one pressing need that needs to be addressed between now and the start of the 2023 season, according to a CBS Sports writer.
That need? It’s a common one regarding the Steelers: offensive tackle.
While the Steelers addressed the interior of the offensive line again, adding guards Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig in free agency, and the recent signing of tackle Le’Raven Clark, the Steelers are still looking to add to the position overall and appear set to do that in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The draft is still a month away, and the current depth chart at the position (Dan Moore Jr., Chukwuma Okorafor and Clark) isn’t exactly comforting overall, even if head coach Mike Tomlin stated that he’s “comfortable” with his starters.
“Pittsburgh has taken its offensive line need seriously over the past few years, signing veterans Mason Cole, Isaac Seumalo, James Daniels and Nate Herbig, in addition to drafting center Kendrick Green and offensive guard Kevin Dotson,” CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards writes regarding the Steelers’ most pressing need. “The team needs to get more dynamic on the edge, and it obviously agrees with that perspective, because the Steelers were a finalist to sign offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. The AFC North franchise has used its last two first-round picks on the quarterback and running back positions, so now it needs to protect those assets.”
It’s no secret that the Steelers chased Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency before the standout left tackle signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. His addition would have solidified the position for years to come, but in the end the Steelers came up short.
They took the big swing at the big fish on the market but have cooled on the position overall in free agency. Instead, the team has seemingly focused its attention at the position on the draft, having shown significant interest in the likes of Ohio State’s Dawand Jones and Tennessee’s Darnell Wright throughout the pre-draft process.
There’s no denying the Steelers are searching for an upgrade at offensive tackle, whether that’s left or right tackle, even if Tomlin and the coaching staff are comfortable with Moore Jr. and Okorafor entering the 2023 season. Both were relatively fine in 2022, though Moore was a much better run blocker than pass blocker throughout the season.
Pittsburgh has to draft a tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft, whether that’s at No. 17, No. 32, No. 49 or later. It’s a significant need, even if it’s just for depth behind Moore Jr. and Okorafor. The Steelers aren’t going to get lucky again with the offensive line starting all 17 games together. Currently, Clark is the next man up if Moore Jr. or Okorafor go down with an injury. That’s terrifying.
As Edwards pointed out, the Steelers have invested heavily in running back Najee Harris and quarterback Kenny Pickett in recent draft years. This year is a good time to protect those investments, whether that’s in the first or second round in late April.