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Steelers Tackle Dylan Cook Has Great Upside for Team

The Pittsburgh Steelers could have some upside in Dylan Cook, who showed out well last year in training camp.



Steelers OT Dylan Cook

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ first move of the offseason was an innocuous one. What was it? They re-signed offensive tackle Dylan Cook. Cook was an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, which means that he was always likely to return. But it’s a move that flew under the radar that could pay off for the team.

Cook was an unheralded singing for the Steelers on the eve of OTAs last season. An undrafted free agent out of Montana, he spent his rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but did not appear in a game.

Cook impressed right away with the Steelers. He fits the physical bill for a tackle at 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, but as a former college quarterback (you read that right), he outstrips most offensive linemen in athleticism.  

He showed this preseason that his pass-blocking prowess is more developed than his run-blocking, but the Steelers left the preseason feeling pretty good about Cook after his 101 snaps over three games. Cook made the 53-man roster, and even though he came from humble beginnings, by the end of camp, it wasn’t even a surprise. Cook was clearly one of the best nine linemen the Steelers had.

Then came the regular season, and for the second year in a row, the Steelers got through it without a single missed game for an offensive tackle. Cook spent 16 games in the press box for the Steelers as a game-day inactive. Once, when Isaac Seumalo was out, he was able to dress, but did not appear in the game.

The Steelers saw what they needed out of Cook for the season. His tape in the preseason was solid, and they trained him to play on both sides and even worked him in at guard. As someone who took to the offensive line later in his career, Cook has approached his second year as a full-time scout team player as a learning opportunity and thinks that even though he didn’t get to show it yet, he’s a better player now than he was at the start of the season.

Cook didn’t come into the NFL with big aspirations. His humble and basically unheard-of beginnings as an NAIA quarterback-turned FCS lineman assured that stance. But after a promising preseason, he admitted that it was a little bit frustrating to not be able to translate that play into regular season action.

Cook is 26 — four years older than Broderick Jones — and with Dan Moore Jr. still on a cheap contract and the Steelers eyeing tackles in the 2024 NFL Draft, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be gifted an opportunity any time soon, either. But if his play continues to take the leap and path it is going, Cook might force his way into the conversation for the team’s swing tackle. And from there, that might be his path to playing time.