PITTSBURGH — The Steelers’ offensive line has been one of the biggest storylines of training camp. Specifically, the battle at left tackle has been the one to watch, and despite Broderick Jones’s pedigree, it seems Dan Moore Jr. is pulling away in the competition.
For optimists that were hoping to see the rookie selected in the first round start right away, it does not look like that is going to happen, but with great potential sometimes must come great patience. That applies to Broderick Jones, too.
However, Steelers fans can be impatient. If the Steelers start Moore over Jones in Week 1, the reaction is likely to be negative. The team traded up for Jones, he should play, right?
Nick’s Quickie Steelers Analysis:
That’s the common thought process, but Jones has had notable struggles in pass protection, specifically with his hand placement and timing. That will be his biggest hurdle in getting onto the field early. His run-blocking chops are already there.
Also, let’s not overlook that Moore has been excellent. Through two preseason games, he hasn’t posted a bad rep. Training camp was much the same. Moore has done everything right leading to this moment. He reworked his diet and body to become stronger and quicker than before. He has been a mentor to Jones, and he has taken to learning right tackle along with the left graciously.
Moore had an excellent training camp. In the first two days of camp, before the team put on pads, he struggled against Alex Highsmith. I cannot remember him making a bad block since then. Moore is steady and consistent. The competition between him and Jones is fun and spirited, but Moore seems likely to hold onto that first-team spot. To his credit, he has earned it.
If Moore beats Jones, how much of it is a negative? To me, not much. Jones has steadily improved in Latrobe and into the preseason. If Moore truly has improved and learned right tackle while doing it, that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. They have a young, versatile tackle who has consistently improved and then an uber-talented rookie who seems to be on the upswing.
Is that bad?
The answer is no. The league is poor and starving for offensive-line talent. The Steelers getting a third-year breakout from Moore and seeing the progression from Jones is a very good thing for them to embrace. The more offensive line depth they have, the better for the team overall.