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. They 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 all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? How might they tackle the draft? 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: How many offensive tackles will be drafted by the time the Steelers are scheduled to select at 17?
If there is no clear consensus as to which position the Steelers would ideally take at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, it is perhaps only because there are two distinct schools of thought: one that favors the cornerback position and one that favors the offensive tackle.
Both camps are strong and have valid arguments. Let’s focus today, however, on offensive tackle and the possibility of the Steelers adding a premium talent at a position that they have not addressed in the first round in quite some time.
Pittsburgh currently has Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor in the starting lineup on the left and right sides, respectively, each with two or more years of starting experience. Neither comes even close to being viewed as indispensable.
Let’s say the Steelers sit at 17 and draft whatever comes to them. Let’s say they want to take a tackle. How many tackles will have been selected by then? Who is likely to be the top name available by then, and would that player be likely the best combination of need and talent?
If we go by our own Scott Pavelle’s big board, then the top tackle-capable candidates would be Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, and Peter Skoronski, all of whom are expected to be selected inside or at least near the top-10 range. Lower on the list are Dawand Jones and Darnell Wright, about whom there is more debate as to their draft value.
How many of these names will still be on the board by pick 17, assuming the Steelers haven’t traded up or down? And should one of them be the latest first-round pick for the black and gold?