The Pittsburgh Steelers have invested heavily in their offensive line over the past two offseasons, overhauling the unit with the additions of guys like Isaac Seumalo, Mason Cole, James Daniels and Broderick Jones. Quarterback Kenny Pickett seems to be a fan of the moves, calling the additions “great pieces” and adding that the offensive line is the “heart and soul” of the offense following the team’s first OTA session today.
“I think we have a great group. I think we had a great group last year and I think we just added some great pieces that can help us with depth and just bring some other things to the table,” Pickett said following OTA’s today via Steelers.com. “But those guys, we go as they go, really. They’re the heart and soul of our offense and a great group to be with, with some great leadership guys who’ve played a lot of football.”
The front office clearly agrees that the line is the heart and soul of the team. With the investments made throughout the line in free agency and in the draft, it’s clearly a unit that Omar Khan and Andy Weidl want to build up and make among the league’s best. It’s what Weidl did in Philadelphia, and last year it was evident that the Eagles’ line was the best in football. The group carried them all the way to the Super Bowl with a potent rushing attack. Pittsburgh wants to play the same way and control the football and win games in the trenches.
The additions to the offensive line benefit Pickett at quarterback, as it will give him more time in the pocket to make reads, which hopefully will cut down on his interceptions. Once the offensive line started to gel last season, Pickett’s turnovers went down significantly. With a unit this year that already should be among the top half in the league, hopefully that issue doesn’t rear its ugly ahead again.
Among the main beneficiaries as well will be 2021 first-round draft pick Najee Harris, who is looking to break out after two solid, if unspectacular seasons at running back. It’s a potential make-or-break year for Harris, as the team will have to decide after the season whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option. He’s a guy the Steelers will lean on this year, especially on early downs, so his production is going to be crucial to the success of the team, as well.
It’s going to be fun to see this offensive line grow and develop together. Adding Seumalo, who is one of the better guards in football, will help immensely. If Broderick Jones can beat out Dan Moore Jr. for the starting left tackle spot, that’s another athletic mauler who can do serious damage out in space in the run game. If everything goes according to plan, the Steelers could be a 10-win team this season, and a big part of that will be due to the investment in the offensive line and the play of the linemen themselves.