The Pittsburgh Steelers draft class was universally regarded as one of the best in the NFL, with the team drafting a number of guys who could impact the team right away. The Athletic recently put an article naming which rookie would have the biggest impact for each time, and Mike DeFabo wrote that offensive tackle Broderick Jones, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick at No. 14 overall would have the biggest impact for the team.
“The Steelers don’t necessarily need to plug offensive tackle Broderick Jones into the lineup immediately, but he likely will be the most impactful early contributor. He should supplant Dan Moore Jr. as the starting left tackle. In an ideal world, the first-round pick’s name will be written in Sharpie on the depth chart for the next decade. The addition has a ripple effect on the offensive line. Chukwuma Okorafor is the most likely candidate to remain at right tackle, with Moore sliding into the swing tackle role.”
The expectation with the selection of Jones is for him to be the team’s franchise left tackle. He started every game for the undefeated National Champion Georgia Bulldogs last season, and he could be a plug-and-play left tackle that pushes Dan Moore Jr. to the team’s swing tackle position. Jones is a menace in the run game, and while he still has work to do in the passing game, in particular with his hand placement, he’s likely going to be a Day 1 upgrade over Moore.
With a young quarterback in Kenny Pickett and a team that’s going to be motivated to run the ball, Jones’ fit as a run blocker should be beneficial for the Steelers. His pass-blocking issues are all things that can be somewhat easily fixed, so getting him to work with an NFL coaching staff should hopefully improve those issues as well. It’s not a stretch to say that he’s going to be the most impactful rookie, as he has the straightest path to playing time. While Joey Porter Jr., who the team selected with the first pick of the second round, will play a lot he’ll still likely slot in behind Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace on the team’s depth chart. If Jones can beat out Moore for the starting job, he’ll be a Day 1 starter.
The Steelers’ offensive line is going to be fun to watch this year. In addition to Jones, the team added guard Isaac Seumalo, and the unit is going from one that was at best regarded as middle of the pack to one that should be among the top 10-12 in the league. Hopefully, Jones can make quick strides and really show off his impact as a rookie and make life easier for Kenny Pickett and Najee Harris.