Not Banking On Same Injury Luck As 2022, Steelers Added ‘Starter-Capable’ Offensive Line Depth

It was clear that a key for the Pittsburgh Steelers this off-season was to improve their offensive line. According to tweets by multiple Steelers best writers, including Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dale Lolley of and Broke Pryor of, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said from the NFL League Meetings in Arizona that the team wasn’t comfortable with their depth at the position after the team had the same five guys start all 17 games last season.

“It would be naive to think” the team would get the same clean bill of health they had from the position in 2022, Tomlin said per Dulac. Adding guards Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig and tackle Le’Raven Clark were done because all three are “starter capable,” Tomlin said, according to Lolley.

Pryor tweeted that Tomlin believes that last season’s O-line continuity “won’t be the norm,” so the team added players with 30 combined starts in 2022 in Herbig, Seumalo and Clark. While Clark is projected to be the team’s swing tackle behind Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor, both Herbig and Seumalo have extensive starting experience and are going to essentially replace Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green/Jesse Davis as the starting right guard and as a backup guard.

“We felt it appropriate to fortify our depth and create competition, and you do that with capable people, particularly with starter-capable experience,” Tomlin said via an article by Dulac in the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.

While there’s a chance Davis gets brought back for depth on a cheap veteran benefit deal, Dotson and Green are more than likely going to be cut, or in Dotson’s case, potentially traded. If the two remain on the roster during training camp, there’s surely going to be competition between both along with Seumalo and Herbig, although the latter two are more than likely to win out. Seumalo is the likely starter at right guard while Herbig should serve as depth behind him and James Daniels at right guard. Given Herbig’s starting experience though, he could try and push one of the two for the starting job, although earning it out of the gates would be rather unlikely. He also could function as the backup center behind Mason Cole, but the team is likely to add someone to fill that role with J.C. Hassenauer likely departing this offseason.

It’s good business for the Steelers to look to add depth and also improve from the starting unit they had in 2022. While the offensive line gelled down the stretch, Dotson struggled with penalties and general inconsistency while his health has always been a question mark. Adding two guys who have proven to be better than him in Seumalo and Herbig improves the Steelers in a myriad of ways, as they add a capable replacement in case of injury and someone who’s just better as a starter.

Clark is essentially a replacement for Trent Scott, who agreed to a deal with the Washington Commanders earlier this week. With Scott gone, the team needed a veteran swing tackle and Clark, who has starting experience with 18 career starts with the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans fits the bill. While he shouldn’t be expected to be a major contributor, he’s good depth in case something happens to Moore Jr. or Okorafor. However, Tomlin didn’t rule out potentially adding more at offensive tackle, saying he was “comfortable,” but not happy at the position, per Pryor. 

“Happy is a dangerous word. I’m comfortable,” Tomlin said about Pittsburgh’s offensive tackles.

If nothing else, the Steelers are in a much better spot with their offensive line heading into 2023 than they were in 2022, and the NFL Draft is still to come in late April. While the team might not be as lucky health-wise, they’ll have the necessary depth to not be at a significant disadvantage if they do deal with injuries.

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