The Pittsburgh Steelers set out on a mission this offseason: become a more dominant football team on both sides of the football in the trenches. They kicked off free agency with a bang on the offensive side, signing OG Isaac Seumalo, who starred with the Philadelphia Eagles as one of the most consistent guards in football on possibly the league’s best OL last season. They also signed OG Nate Herbig to bolster depth on the offensive line as well as brought back Larry Ogunjobi and signed Armon Watts and Breiden Fehoko to beef up the defensive line.
Pittsburgh continued that vision on Day One of the 2023 NFL Draft, selecting Georgia OT Broderick Jones to battle Dan Moore Jr. as the team’s hopeful long-term solution at the blindside. Jones spoke to the media briefly after getting picked by the Steelers and was asked to describe his play style and what he brings to the table as a blocker. Jones didn’t sugarcoat his response.
“Physical, fast, and dominant,” Jones told reporters Thursday night on 93.7 The Fan.
When you watch Jones on tape, you see exactly the type of player he described himself as. He represented himself well at the NFL Combine from a testing perspective, posting a 4.97 40 while tipping the scales at 6’5, 311lb with a near 35-inch wingspan. That speed and athleticism pops on tape as Jones is fluid out in space, locating defenders in the open field and burying them into the turf.
Fast? Check. Physical? Check. Dominant? Well, he’s one of the most dominant run-blocking OTs in this draft class and didn’t allow a sack in 2022, an impressive feat in his first season as a full-time starter in the SEC.
Jones isn’t without his issues. I noted his hands dangling by his sides as well as his footwork in pass protection as a couple of things he needs to clean up at the next level. Still, these are technical issues that can be coached, which is what Pittsburgh hopes OL Coach Pat Meyer can do to refine Jones’ immense physical tools. The Steelers desire a return to playing a physical brand of football and run the rock with authority in 2023. We saw flashes of that down the stretch last season, and the selection of Broderick Jones only helps add to the identity Pittsburgh has embraced on offense.