To start the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 offseason, first-round draft pick tackle Broderick Jones has been working with the second team at left tackle for the most part, working behind Dan Moore at left tackle.
At some point, Jones is going to move into the starting lineup, but where that will be, who he will displace and how the rest of the line will shake out is not yet clear.
Incumbent tackles Moore and Chuks Okorafor continue to man their spots, while Jones has worked exclusively behind Moore at left tackle. If Moore moves from that spot, it could be to right tackle — where he has taken some reps behind Okorafor. General manager Omar Khan has also said the team thinks that Moore could play guard, but the team also has a logjam there, with free agents Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig added to incumbents James Daniels and Kevin Dotson.
Of course, there’s another answer, which could be that Jones will not enter the starting lineup this season. That possibility was put forward by none other than Dotson, while appearing on his former teammate Derwin Gray’s podcast, Three Point Stance.
“I think this year, most likely, he won’t play,” Dotson said. “I’m thinking they’re just thinking about the future. That’s all I can think of. If he plays this year, I don’t know. He’s going to be at tackle, most likely left, because I don’t think he’s ever played right.”
The Steelers do have a daunting early season slate of pass rushers, including Nick Bosa, Maxx Crosby and Myles Garrett in the first three games of the season. So they may be hesitant to play Jones right away against that fearsome lineup.
Moore, though inconsistent at times in his two-year stretch as the Steelers’ starting left tackle, has faired well against the likes Garrett. Okorafor, meanwhile, excels in pass protection where both Moore and Jones have weaknesses, and it’s unlikely that he will be removed from the lineup under any circumstances.
“Chuks might be one of the most slept on people in the league, protecting the quarterback,” Dotson said. “He’s going against monsters, weekly and people are not giving him his props. He’s giving up something like … three sacks in a season.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Okorafor gave up just three sacks in 2022, which tied a career high. He’s given up just eight total since assuming the starting right tackle job in Week 2 of the 2020 season.
But Okorafor is also one of the most expensive players on the entire Pittsburgh offense, with cap hits of $13.1 million for 2023 and $11.8 million for 2024 scheduled. That could play a part in the team’s future decision-making.
“You never know in the league,” Dotson said. “The league is so wild. People you expect to stay for a team, then it’s, ‘How did you get rid of …’ It happens all the time.”