The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 NFL Draft class has been showered with praise from the word go. As soon as they made the move up in the first round to draft George tackle Broderick Jones, they have been getting their kudos. Indeed, many outlets have written that they believe the Steelers had one of the best drafts in the entire NFL.
Maybe that’s true. We won’t know for years to come. These guys do have to get on the field, after all. But the Steelers themselves are very pleased with who they got, and they knew Jones was worth the move up. Former cornerback and current scout Ike Taylor expressed that sentiment about their new tackle.
“BJ don’t even know how good he is”, he said on the Bleav in Steelers podcast with Mark Bergin. “He’s a young man, all he wants to do is have fun and just smash people’s faces. But he don’t even know his potential. Like, he just loves football”.
A two-time national champion with the Bulldogs, Jones is still 21 and is raw as a starter of somewhat limited experience, the 2022 season being his only full year as a regular starter. But he may be one of the most physically gifted tackles to come out of college in years, and he certainly impressed the Steelers up close as well.
“When you just pop on the tape, you’re like, ‘Oh, he got that Mortal Kombat mentality, that “Finish Him” mentality’”, Taylor said, referring to the iconic fighting video game franchise, with one-on-one battles that end with a “finishing” move being performed.
“The sky’s the limit for Broderick. The sky’s the limit. Matter of fact, you can take the sky off”, he said, continuing to gush about the Steelers’ new lineman. “He’s somewhere in sci-fi. This kid here, he’s what your franchise needs, wants to have, and represents. All that man do is love football”.
Praise doesn’t get much higher than that. Jones is going to have a lot to live up to. Yet at the same time, I believe the Steelers understand that he may need some time to develop to truly come into his own. It’s not a slam dunk that he is going to be on the field as a starter, either at left or right tackle, from the first snap of the season.
This was a move made for the long game. They want him to be protecting young quarterback Kenny Pickett’s blindside for the next dozen years or more. They want to win championships. He wants to win championships. He’s got that taste in his mouth. He did it in college. Now he wants that Lombardi. And he’ll smash whoever’s in his way.