The Pittsburgh Steelers have added three starters via free agency to the interior of the offensive line over the course of the past 13 months. James Daniels and Isaac Seumalo will obviously be among the two. Mason Cole will presumably be the other, but Nate Herbig could potentially compete to push his way in as well.
But what about the tackle position? The Steelers have done little here in rather a while, short of the drafting of Dan Moore Jr. in the fourth round in 2021. And he was supposed to be a backup, at least to begin with. But he’s started every game of his career. What is the plan there?
According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the team isn’t likely nearly as concerned as is the fanbase. “I think he will be” the Steelers’ starting left tackle when the regular season begins, he said in a recent chat session.
While he did concede that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers drafted a tackle in the first round, he asked, “I don’t think they are in panic mode about Dan Moore Jr., like the fans seem to be”.
But then again, the Steelers are never in panic mode, at least publicly, and even when they’re not, that doesn’t preclude them from making significant investments. They claimed not to be in panic mode about the quarterback position a year ago, but they still pounced on the opportunity to draft Kenny Pickett.
It’s entirely possible, as Dulac suggests, that the Steelers would still use their first-round draft pick on a tackle while also retaining some level of confidence in Moore. At the moment, they have no glaring needs in their starting lineup, but plenty of spots they can readily upgrade.
Tackle would be one of the most obvious spots, if not topping the list. And it’s not just at left tackle. Chukwuma Okorafor at right tackle is occupying another spot that could be upgraded. A potential rookie left tackle could even start on the right side before switching, as occasionally happens.
There is a reasonable chance that a top tackle prospect is available to the Steelers at 17. Peter Skoronski is probably the least likely to last, but we’ve seen wilder slides than it would take to find at least one of Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, Dawand Jones, or Anton Harrison—depending upon how one ranks the tackles. Many may through Darnell Wright and Matthew Bergeon into the mix, though this could also extend to the 32nd pick.
With three early picks in the first two rounds, and the way the board and their roster shakes out, it’s rather hard to imagine that the Steelers don’t come away from this portion of the draft without a new tackle. And assuming that happens, one would have to imagine he has a reasonable chance of finding his way into the starting lineup.