PITTSBURGH — The Steelers made their pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in the first round by moving up and selecting Georgia OT Broderick Jones at No. 14 overall after a trade with the New England Patriots.
Jones brings a lot of plus traits to the table that Pittsburgh simply needed. The first of which is immediately evident in his foot quickness and athleticism. He has rare traits for his size and while he has rough edges to his game, that makes his ceiling extremely high.
So, what are the downsides? Jones has to learn proper footwork and hand usage. His hands can get too far outside his frame and he can get grabby. Moreover, he has inconsistent timing on his anchor, making Jones a guy who just needs to trust his technique a little bit more. There is plenty to learn, but as mentioned previously, boy are the tools all there for Jones to be a special player.
All in all, he came out to be my OT2 when the whole process ended. I love his demeanor on the field, too. Jones is a mean, nasty player who is already a plus run blocker. To me, between that and his athleticism, that makes Jones a viable starter and a guy who can beat out Dan Moore.
Take it from someone who is not in love with this tackle class, giving up only the 120th overall selection for Jones is a massive win for the Steelers. They needed a tackle, and it become clear that none of the guys they truly wanted were going to make it to No. 17 with the New York Jets and Washington Commanders lurking.
We’ll see where Jones goes from here. I would temper the year-one expectations. Jones is raw in pass protection and has to learn the functional basics of the position. But he is a prototypical left tackle who also has right tackle experience. This has all the makings to be a player that turns out to be a long-term stalwart. Could the team have looked to land Christian Gonzalez? Sure, but it appears they wisely did bet that tackle would run out of the well sooner than cornerbacks.
His natural tools stick out as a plus athlete who is already a high-level run blocker at this stage. Yes, he will have to work on hand usage, footwork, and other areas in pass protection but I am far more of the idea that Jones can play right away while learning how to do just that. He is not raw to the point where he can not start year one and fits Pat Meyer’s philosophies well. If Meyer can teach the group as he did a year ago, Jones has the potential to be a high-upside pick for the Steelers.