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‘Ton Of Upside:’ Omar Khan Says Trading Up For Broderick Jones Was ‘No Brainer’

On the first night of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers did something that is unusual for them: they traded up. Pittsburgh moved from pick 17 to pick 14 so they could grab Georgia tackle Broderick Jones. The last time the Steelers traded up in Round One was in 2019 for linebacker Devin Bush. Before that you have to go all the way back to 2006 when the Steelers traded up for wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

Today, Mike Florio fromĀ Pro Football Talk asked Steelers general manager Omar Khan why he felt the need to move up for Jones on his podcast on the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

“We just felt like he was a Steeler,” Khan said. “He was just a very impressive young man and obviously he’s a good player and the future is bright for him. He hasn’t played a ton of football, there’s a ton of upside there. Going through the process he was a player we had targeted and the way the board was coming down we knew there was a chance he’d still be there but once we got the opportunity to get to 14 it was a no brainer for us.”

Jones did not play a ton of football relative to other players, only suiting up for two full collegiate seasons. Yet his play was impressive enough that he started for a team that won two-straight national championships and eventually became a first-round draft pick.

However, because he is such a raw player due to his lack of playing time, there is some talk that he may not see the field right away as he needs to grow and refine his technique. While there is nothing wrong with this — and what is most important is that he develops into a star player — Khan is not anticipating having to wait for Jones to make an impact, another reason why the traded up for him.

“We didn’t want to risk him not being there [at pick 17],” Khan said. “We felt like he’s going to help us not only on the short-term, but on the long-term.”

If Jones wins the starting job, it will be a huge boost for the rushing attack as he is an uber-athletic offensive tackle. While his pass protection technique needs work, if he wins the job it will show Jones has come a long way from where he is now.

Even if he does not win the job this year, the Jones’ potential is off the charts. He can be a stud left tackle charged with protecting quarterback Kenny Pickett’s blindside for years to come and helping the Steelers running game reach heights it hasn’t seen in some time.

Trading up isn’t historically the Steelers’ way, but Khan has now shown that when he finds a player he thinks fits perfectly, he is not afraid to go up and get him.

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