With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: T Broderick Jones
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers selected the Georgia Bulldog 14th in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, trading up three spots with the New England Patriots to do so at the expense of their 120th overall selection in the fourth round.
Say hello and welcome to your new franchise left tackle. Selected as a 21-year-old redshirt sophomore, the Steelers are getting a very-high-upside player in Broderick Jones, two-time national champion with the Georgia Bulldogs.
And they didn’t want to risk losing him, dealing their fourth-round pick in order to move up three spots in the first round—ahead of the New York Jets, who reportedly coveted him—to ensure that they would get their new foundational piece.
Because that’s exactly what they believe he is. They wouldn’t have moved up if that’s not what they thought. It doesn’t guarantee things will ultimately work out, but it speaks to how they view Jones. And head coach Mike Tomlin said that he is a very good player right now even though he has so much more potential.
Jones doesn’t have a good deal of playing time, overall, only becoming a full-time starter in 2022. He has under 1,500 collegiate snaps under his belt, though most of it has come at left tackle, including 930 during the 2022 season, which like the previous season, ended in a title.
Strong, physical, and athletic, he is the type of clay any offensive line coach worth his salt would absolutely love to get his hands on and start molding. While the Steelers may (or may not) have rather had the opportunity to land Paris Johnson Jr. or Darnell Wright, they saw enough in Jones to want to make this investment, even if it wasn’t nearly the bold trade they pulled off for Devin Bush four years earlier.
The move immediately puts Dan Moore Jr. (and perhaps Chukwuma Okorafor) on notice, as the Steelers will expect the rookie to compete for a starting job right away. He may not get it right out of the gate, but he will certainly be given the chance to earn it.
After all, if the Steelers felt Moore could start right away—even if the circumstances kind of forced their hand—do we really think Jones won’t be able to play at a comparable level at this point in his career? Of course there will be growing pains, but there will be a lot of growing as well. And he would have Isaac Seumalo next to him.