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2024 NFL Draft

Ben Roethlisberger Explains Why Steelers Must Address Offensive Line

Ben Roethlisberger believes that the Pittsburgh Steelers need to go out and draft offensive line in the 2024 NFL Draft.



Pittsburgh Steelers Graham Barton

The Pittsburgh Steelers have several directions that the team could go in the 2024 NFL Draft, but it seems likely they will pick an offensive lineman in the first round. It makes sense, too, because tackle and center are the two biggest needs the team can reasonably address at 20th overall.

And former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is hoping to see the team address offensive line to help out Russell Wilson and Justin Fields.

“You just got two quarterbacks. That should be your start. It feels like they’ve been trying to rebuild the line, but in unique ways. Start with the line. If there’s a good center or tackle… Maybe take the first two. To me it starts and stops with the line,” Roethlisberger said on the WDVE Morning Show. “…Tackles are important as they’re protecting your blindside. You can put in tight-ends to help a tackle. A center has to be a guy. He’s making your calls. Your center and quarterback have to work together. You saw how Pounce and I worked together. If you’re not on the same page with your center… You’re in trouble.”

Center seems to be the first priority for someone like Roethlisberger. That would make the top target on the board Duke’s Graham Barton, who the Steelers seem to love and are starting to really lock in on.

Barton is an impressive player on film, and though many are projecting him to move positions because his lack of length leaves him in trouble on the outside at tackle, many believe he is a special talent who could play center. Former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, who helps the Steelers out with some scouting services, weighed in on Barton.

“This is what I think about when I think about Graham Barton — you mix a grizzly bear, you put in a ballerina, and you put in a lion,” Taylor said on the Bleav in Steelers Podcast. “Those people don’t come around too often.”

Barton played center as a freshman at Duke before moving to left tackle. With shorter arms than a typical NFL tackle, most teams are set to move him inside, and Barton did most of his positional drills at center, the interior position that he has played the most.

“(Snapping the ball), It’s like riding a bike,” he said at the NFL Combine. “You pick it back up. It’s a learned skill. Once you have that skill, you carry on. Definitely obviously going to keep working on that and being ready to go at any position and whatever a team needs from me. It’s certainly something to drill and work on and have ready to go.”

The Steelers have shown significant interest in Barton. They met with him formally at the combine, brought him in for a pre-draft visit and sent offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to his pro day. And one scout believes that Barton fits best in a zone scheme, which is exactly what the Steelers will run under Smith, who heavily leans into wide zone.