PITTSBURGH — Dan Moore Jr. recently revealed that he was starting to take a few reps at right tackle during Steelers practice, potentially laying the groundwork for rookie first-round pick Broderick Jones to take over the first-team spot at left tackle. While that was expected to occur, it started an interesting conversation. Is there a battle brewing for the team’s right tackle position?
When asked about the rumors himself, Moore said that the reps were purely to allow him to get comfortable at the position at this point in the process. After all, Moore has not truly played at right tackle ever in his NFL or collegiate career, logging only 1 NFL snap there. While he did play there some during his rookie year during training camp, it is hard to see him fully making any transition to the right side without some serious repetitions.
The team did not draft Jones to sit back and watch Moore play. That does not mean that Moore could not be the week 1 starting at left tackle, though. Jones was one of the rawer tackles of the top group and that could keep him off the field for a bit to start the season. Regardless, you have to think there are good chances that Jones ends the season as the starting left tackle and usurps Moore at some point.
While the nascent left tackle is the future, that does not mean Moore and starting right tackle Chuks Okorafor are suddenly locked into a right tackle battle. In fact, expect Okorafor to be as firmly entrenched as any other starter on the offensive line. Allowing 3 sacks a year ago, Okorafor was a solid pass protector that gave Pittsburgh the base level of play they desired for the position.
Jones will not be handed the starting Steelers left tackle job. He must earn that and take it from Moore. Regardless, I expect both Jones and Moore will take right tackle snaps at some point this offseason. That is just to cover all pieces with Okorafor there. But make no mistake, at this time, there a right tackle battle is not real. The battle is still going strong at left tackle and will go strong all summer long, as expected.
As for the loser of that battle, the Steelers’ right tackle position will be important for that player as the swing tackle. But until then, it does feel like these two will both roam over to the right side to at least build some muscle memory with that side with their footwork or hands since it all flips.