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 who will be the offensive coordinator. 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? 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: Which tackles will be available at 32?
The principle draft debate for the Pittsburgh Steelers have seemed to become, and not without justification, whether the ideal first-round selection is a tackle or a cornerback. Of course that question can’t practically be answered without knowing who will be available; we can only hope to make educated guesses.
Let’s say, however, that the Steelers use their first-round pick on a position other than tackle, and they do not make any trades. What would their options be at the position at 32, the first selection of the second round on day two?
There will always be some degree of unpredictability in the draft, if not simply for the fact that you don’t know who is going to want to trade where and how that affects team resources and needs. Still, there tends to be a general perception in the first round or so where the top prospects are likely to fall, within a range.
It’s possible that the third-best tackle prospect, for example, might be available for the Steelers when they pick at 17—or maybe even, on their board, the best prospect, depending on how teams’ evaluations differ.
What will their options be at 32? In my work with mock draft simulators, the most common name left at the top of the board tends to be Dawand Jones out of Ohio State, who may even be available at 49 with the Steelers’ second pick of the second round. Occasionally Anton Harrison will make it there as well, but there seems to be a pretty big drop-off after Jones as often as not.
As a secondary question to the above, just how big of a risk might the Steelers be taking in terms of a loss of talent if they don’t take their tackle with their first pick? It’s widely perceived that the depth at the position, particularly at the top, is not as deep as others, so how likely are they to regret not addressing it right away?