NFL draft discussions for the Pittsburgh Steelers largely being dominated by first-round interests, and that discussion has focused primarily on cornerbacks and offensive tackles. Yet it seems to me the hierarchy is clearer at cornerback than it is at tackle.
One of the reasons for that is because it’s less clear, in some cases, who is an NFL tackle and who would be moved to guard. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for example, the Steelers view Peter Skoronski as a guard.
Interesting, though not surprising, many have debated what Skoronski’s position will be at the NFL level. Personally, I believe he would be able to play at either tackle or guard, though I could see why the Steelers would feel he is a better fit inside for them.
Asked if the Steelers were more likely to draft a guard than a tackle based on the team’s perceived pre-draft interest, Dulac during a recent chat had this to say: “If they draft an OL in the first round, it will be a tackle. I’m not sure a guy like Peter Skoronski interests them because, for their purposes, they think he’s a guard, not a tackle”.
Listed at 6’4” and 313 pounds, Skoronski doesn’t have the prototypical tackle frame, but he’s certainly not abnormally small, and there are plenty of success stories of smaller linemen thriving at tackle. Perhaps the bigger knock is that his arms are a bit shorter.
Regardless of where he plays, most agree that he is the best offensive line prospect in this class. Correspondingly, chances are excellent the Steelers, who draft at 17, would have little to no shot of drafting him in the first place.
Pittsburgh has invested heavily in the interior offensive line via free agency over the past two offseasons, signing Mason Cole, James Daniels, Isaac Seumalo, and Nate Herbig during that time. They also retain 2021-2 starter Kevin Dotson, so it’s no surprise few perceive them to be in a rush to attack the interior positions.
On the opposite side, you have two nearly replacement-level starters at tackle in Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor, and the closest thing to a swing tackle is Le’Raven Clark at the moment. It’s a foregone conclusion that they must take a tackle early. The only question is how early.
Dulac was also asked during the chat which tackles the Steelers do like, having earlier said to keep an eye on Darnell Wright. In addition to Wright, he cited Paris Johnson Jr. and Broderick Jones as having been identified as prospects the team covets.
Frankly, it would be a good problem to have if the Steelers were even in position to enter the Skoronski position debate. But as I mentioned earlier, the odds of them even sniffing his draft slot without a robust and arguably ill-advised trade up are low.