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Steelers Play Coy When Asked If Broderick Jones Was Last Tackle In Top Tier On Their Board

With three tackles having gone off the board in the first 11 picks in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled the triggers on a trade with the New England Patriots that allowed them to move up three spots to 14, which they used to select Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones.

At 6’5” and 311 pounds, he has the size you want at the position, as well as the ability. What he chiefly lacks at this point is the experience, and there’s only one way to get that. But the Steelers believed what he could offer versus what the rest of the tackle class had to offer was worth giving up something extra for—even if they played coy about it afterward.

Asked on Friday if there was a drop-off after Jones in comparison to the other remaining tackles in this class, assistant general manager Andy Weidl offered, “It depends how you see it. Different people are going to see the board differently. He is just a player that we really valued”.

That’s true enough, of course, but he was asked how he sees it, how the Steelers see it. In this case, their actions spoke louder, or at least clearer, than their words. They gave up 17 and 120 to get Jones for a reason, and the rest of the league felt the same way. There wasn’t another tackle, or lineman in general, off the board until the Jacksonville Jaguars took Anton Harrison at 27.

And the next tackle was taken at 38, Matthew Bergeron going to the Atlanta Falcons. Dawand Jones lasted until 111. Broderick was their guy, because the next available options simply were not in the same class, even if they wouldn’t come out and say it.

Weidl was even asked a second time in a slightly different way to address the matter of where Jones was ranked on their board among the tackles relative to who else was available, and if there was a drop-off after him. “Well, you know, we liked him a lot”, he said. “He was a guy that we were happy and excited to get”.

But would they have been willing to trade up for him if they would have been happy and excited about getting Anton Harrison at 17? Of course not. They saw the board the way most people saw the board. After the top four, the value takes a notable step down. There wouldn’t have been a good value at 17 if Jones was gone, plain and simple, from a football perspective, no matter how much they may like him on a personal level.

Of course, getting the most out of Broderick Jones may well require patience. We must keep in mind that he is still relatively inexperienced in terms of in-game snaps played. He only has one season as a full-time starter under his belt. But he’s big, he’s young, athletic, he’s eager, and he’s got a good head on his shoulders. And now he’s a Steeler.

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