Broderick Jones is looking to make his impact on the Steelers early and often. After the team traded up the board to grab him at 14th overall, he will be immediately thrust into an important competition with Dan Moore at left tackle. Even though Moore is the incumbent, Jones is already starting to impress some teammates.
One of those teammates includes captain and longtime Steeler Cam Heyward. Heyward has seen just about everything during his tenure in Pittsburgh. But this is the first time during his tenure that the team has drafted a first-round offensive tackle. Jones has all of the pedigree and will need to take the right steps to ensure his starting spot and Heyward realizes that.
Joining the 3 and Out Podcast, Heyward talked about his impressions of Jones from the outset. During OTAs, he saw Jones continually improve and set himself up well for a summer battle with a veteran in Moore. If Jones is to win the job, he will need to showcase consistency and a high-level of proficiency out of the gate.
“There’s just a lot to like there,” Heyward said. “I love his tenacity. He’s got a good body and he can move well. You know, quick feet. There’s just things he’s going to keep working on. I don’t like to gas the rookie and give him all the keys to the car but he’s setting himself up nice. He’s going to be a big player down the road.”
From a veteran like Heyward, that means a lot. But the Steelers have been impressed by him, too. Pat Meyer is drilling Jones with all the intricate techniques he will have to use. Jones will play sooner rather than later with the draft capital used to acquire him in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, it seems that the mentality that Jones has is what really sticks out to Meyer. The physical tools are there, but now they need to be sharpened.
“He’s talented, he’s young, he’s athletic, he’s got all the tools,” Meyer said. “The thing is he wants to be great, so he stays with that, and he wants to be great, and he has that attitude to do that. And when the time’s ready for him, he’s going to be in there.”
It might not be Week 1, but Jones is a solid bet to start at some point in the 2023 NFL season. He could experience some early struggles like most rookie tackles. That’s just the road the NFL takes with most offensive linemen, though. Jones should be expected to be a cornerstone for the Steelers.