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Offensive Line Becomes Steelers Top Need



Steelers WVU C Zach Frazier

The Pittsburgh Steelers released Mason Cole on Friday, and that made their need at center all the more apparent. But paired with the massive need at tackle, and it’s even more clear just how much the team needs help at tackle and center. Pittsburgh could very well double up in the NFL Draft, and explore upgrades in free agency on top of that.

Cole struggled mightily in 2023, developing snapping issues in addition to having a hard time executing his pass protection assignments. It was a surprising downturn for Cole, who played solidly if unspectacularly in 2022, and did so while nursing a foot injury all season. The Steelers shored up his left side with the addition of Isaac Seumalo through free agency, but somehow, Cole had his worst season in years.

Like tackle and corner, the Steelers are blessed with this need matching a prodigious draft class. There could be three centers taken in the first round in 2024 after only two were taken in the entire draft in 2023. 
There are also free agent options, like Aaron Brewer from the Tennessee Titans, who got his start in Arthur Smith’s scheme.

And instead of playing Broderick Jones at his natural left tackle position, the Steelers inserting him at right tackle, replacing incumbent starter Chukwuma Okorafor there. Okorafor was released earlier this month, leaving just Jones and Moore as the starting options on the roster.

So once again, the Steelers are setting out to replace Dan Moore. The good news is that this year’s rookie tackle class is even deeper than it was last year. They probably won’t need to trade up in the first round to get a good option to step in at right tackle and let Jones move back to his left side.

Moore is entering the final year of his contract, so he can hold the door open for another rookie and then look for a greener pasture in free agency after 2024.

It’s clear the team has huge needs at quarterback, two spots on the offensive line, and cornerback. Those will have to be addressed. But none are more urgent than making sure the offensive line gets upgraded in a scheme that depends upon high level offensive line play.