Connect with us

Steelers News

Sleeper Steelers OT Rising up Depth Chart Quickly



Steelers OT Dylan Cook

PITTSBURGH — Dylan Cook faded into the background of the Steelers’ offensive tackle room before training camp, what you could describe as a camp body. But the former Buccaneers tackle has more to show than what meets the eye on his resume. Some of it is tied to his fascinating story, but Cook is proving he can play at least three spots on the offensive line, and his ascent up the depth chart continues.

The Steelers do not have a swing tackle that seems likely to make the team. Instead, Le’Raven Clark, who might have been that guy, has slid down the depth chart. But in his place, second-year upstart Dylan Cook looks to make that leap to the next level. Playing exclusively left tackle last year forced him to adjust in Tampa Bay, and now he seems more comfortable at both left and right tackle. Cook even sees some reps at guard. The former quarterback turned offensive tackle is still fully adjusting to his new home.

“Rookie year, everything was so stressful during training camp,” Cook said. “This year, I just take it one day at a time. You treat every day as its own because it’ll eat you up. That stuff has led to my development.”

Cook proved he has excellent athleticism in training camp. The sweet feet he plays with are his most significant attribute. In Tampa Bay, Cook lacked hand usage comfortability. At Montana, they punched with their inside hand first, but with the Buccaneers, they hit with their outside hand. Pat Meyer is adaptable and allows his tackles to do what they are comfortable with, allowing Cook to find some level of play.

“That was an adjustment,” Cook said. “You know, all the technique I was taught at little Montana in the FCS just got all thrown out the window. We were inside-hand punchers in Tampa; they’re solely outside-hand (at Montana), I really had to learn on the fly with coaches in Tampa. Coach Meyer is great about letting us play how we play and working around that. He doesn’t hate that I punch with my outside hand, but he works with me on how to be more efficient with it, which I love. I couldn’t ask for a better coach.”

Going from quarterback to offensive tackle is a rarely-taken path. Cook took that path as a lifeline to continue playing football. When he started, the transition started rocky. There should be little wonder why since the positions teach the opposite lessons with footwork. At quarterback, the aim should be to have long strides and get into the drop quickly so the play comes out on time. But at offensive tackle, the purpose flips that. Short, choppy steps are the standard to maintain a base and get to the spot after your kick-step. Cook, as a result, came into the NFL raw. But with a year under his belt at the NFL level, Cook can now build upon his technique.

That former quarterback background allows him to become versatile. It does more than that, though. Cook processes at a macro level as a quarterback, and the transition to thinking like a lineman in pass protection is swift. The next step for Cook should be to embrace the mauler mentality with his size and functional strength. Pittsburgh still will be unlikely to keep Cook on their active roster, but he has shown enough to be the first tackle off the practice squad in the event of an injury. They have something in Cook.

Subscribe Today!

Subscribe today!

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.