2023 NFL Draft

Study: What The Pittsburgh Steelers Look For In Drafting Offensive Tackles (2023)

Part two of our 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers “what they look for” study. By reader request, we’re looking at the offensive tackles who best fit the Steelers’ past criteria. This is an exciting one because we’ve never done a “look for” study on tackles. Largely because of sample-size issues, the Steelers just don’t draft many of them, but I took another look at the numbers this year and there’s just enough there for us to make it work.

As I did with the cornerback room, I’ll repeat a change in our overall criteria and data-gathering this year due to the continued increase of Combine participants who don’t go through the full workouts, making it hard for them to even be eligible to “check all the boxes.”

There’s one other change too. In past years, I focused largely on Combine workout numbers, only using Pro Days for objective testing, things like vertical and broad jump in which two scouts wouldn’t have two different numbers like they could with a 40 time or three-cone. But given the rise in players simply opting out of Combine testing, especially the cones (short shuttle and three-cone), I am including those numbers in our criteria. I’m still only looking at prospects invited to the Combine but if they didn’t test at Indy, I will consider their Pro Day figures. It isn’t ideal, there’s more gray area here, but it’s the smart thing to do.

With that said, here are all the tackles drafted in the Mike Tomlin era, 2007 to present.

Tony Hills

Height: 6051
Weight: 309
Arm Length: N/A
Hand Size: N/A
Bench: 24
40 Time: DNP
Ten Split: DNP
Vertical: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Short Shuttle: DNP
Three-Cone: DNP

Marcus Gilbert

Height: 6061
Weight: 330
Arm Length: 33 1/2
Hand Size: 9 3/4
Bench: 30
40 Time: 5.46
Ten Split: 1.93
Vertical: 30.5
Broad Jump: 8’2″
Short Shuttle: 5.02
Three-Cone: DNP

Mike Adams

Height: 6072
Weight: 323
Arm Length: 34
Hand Size: 10 7/8
Bench: 21
40 Time: 5.40
Ten Split: 1.83
Vertical: 28.5
Broad Jump: 8’4″
Short Shuttle: 4.95
Three-Cone: 7.94

Kelvin Beachum

Height: 6027
Weight: 303
Arm Length: 33 1/4
Hand Size: 9 3/8
Bench: 19
40 Time: 5.44
Ten Split: 1.85
Vertical: 28.5
Broad Jump: 8’5″
Short Shuttle: 4.80
Three-Cone: 7.79

Jerald Hawkins

Height: 6055
Weight: 305
Arm Length: 34 1/4
Hand Size: 9 5/8
Bench: 23
40 Time: 5.23
Ten Split: 1.89
Vertical: 23.5
Broad Jump: 8’4″
Short Shuttle: 4.89
Three-Cone: 8.19

Chukwuma Okorafor

Height: 6060
Weight: 320
Arm Length: 34 1/2
Hand Size: 10 1/4
Bench: 20
40 Time: 5.31
Ten Split: 1.85
Vertical: 23.5
Broad Jump: 8’6″
Short Shuttle: 4.80
Three-Cone: 7.87

Derwin Gray

(guard but need samples, college OT)

Height: 6044
Weight: 320
Arm Length: 34 3/8
Hand Size: 9 5/8
Bench: 26
40 Time: 5.26
Ten Split: 1.84
Vertical: 26
Broad Jump: 8’4″
Short Shuttle: 4.94
Three-Cone: 8.15

Dan Moore, Jr.

Height: 6055
Weight: 311
Arm Length: 34 1/2
Hand Size: 10 1/4
Bench: 28
40 Time: 5.21
Ten Split: 1.84
Vertical: 30.5
Broad Jump: 9’2″
Short Shuttle: 4.73
Three-Cone: 7.56

Considering this goes back to 2007, it’s a pretty sparse list. Only eight names and I stretched it with Derwin Gray, who played tackle at Maryland but primarily worked at guard with Pittsburgh. Tony Hills also has a limited data set to work with, basically just his height and weight.

Still, there’s enough to create our criteria for future tackles. It is:

Offensive Tackle Criteria:

Height: 6050+ (6 of 8)
Weight: 305+ (7 of 8)
Arm Length: 33 1/2+ (6 of 7)
Hand Size: 9 1/2+ (6 of 7)
Bench: 20+ (6 of 7)
40 Time: 5.45 or better (6 of 7)
Ten Split: 1.90 or better (6 of 7)
Vertical: 23+ (7 of 7)
Broad Jump: 8’4″+ (6 of 7)
Short Shuttle: 4.95 or better (6 of 7)
Three-Cone: 8.15 or better (5 of 6)

Essentially, the Steelers want a little bit of size and length and they don’t care about athleticism that much except for extreme negative outliers.

Of the 2023 group invited to the Combine, two tackles checked every box.

Name/School Height Weight Arm Length Hand Size 40 Time/10 Split Bench Vert Broad SS 3 Cone
Earl Bostick Jr./Kansas 6056 309 34 1/8 9 1/2 5.05/1.74 21 31 9’3″ 4.83 7.60
John Ojukwu/Boise State 6056 309 34 10 3/4 5.24/1.81 26 28.5 8’8″ 4.52 7.52


Bostic and Ojukwu aren’t top-tier names in this year’s class but are interesting Day Three candidates. Ojukwu is probably viewed higher than Bostic, but neither are likely to be in serious consideration for the Steelers if they’re going to take a tackle in the top two rounds.

Still, it’s always interesting to see the guys who hit all the right notes and these two do. Even their heights/weights are exactly the same, which is sort of interesting.

Now let’s look at the players who missed in just one category.

One Box Away

Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu/Oregon – Bench (18)
Matthew Bergeron/Syracuse – 40 Time/Ten Split (DNP)
Blake Freeland/BYU – Weight (302)

MAL, as I’ll call him, is also a later-round pick. Bergeron could be taken in Round Two and probably would’ve hit every other box had he run the 40. He’s athletic and the bar here is low (technically he missed in two boxes without the 40/Ten Split but I’ll lump them all in the same here since he was a DNP). Freeland had a top-tier workout but has a leaner frame that Pittsburgh hasn’t shown much interest in over the years and during this pre-draft process.

Similar to CB, many notable names aren’t appearing here for a lack of testing. Paris Johnson Jr. would’ve checked every box if he tested. Same with Broderick Jones, who only missed in things he didn’t do (bench and shuttles). Notable players who missed in a category we can put a number on include Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison (height and hand) and Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan (height and hand). Ohio State’s Dawand Jones actually missed in his ten split (the only one to do so), and Tennessee’s Darnell Wright missed in hand size.

Overall, this is a good baseline, but I won’t put a ton of stock into this. We know the team’s type at tackle this year has been big and long, the guys built like a house. That’s more of a driver here than the numbers. Still, it’s good to have this information compiled and I bet we’ll have a ninth tackle to include on our list in 2024.

Previous ‘What They Look For’ Studies


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