PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Steelers are sticking with the rookie, as the club has elevated Broderick Jones to a full-time starter at right tackle.
Jones, who the team traded up to get with the 14th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, has started the team’s last three games at right tackle. Jones replaced veteran starter Chuks Okorafor, who said he was benched for comments made at the end of the team’s Week 9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It now appears that will be final strike for Okorafor, as the team has seen enough in four starts to make Jones the starter going forward.
Jones replaced left tackle Dan Moore during the team’s Week 4 loss to the Houston Texans when Moore suffered a knee sprain, and he started the following week against the Baltimore Ravens.
But when Moore returned to health, Jones returned to bench, until Okorafor’s outburst game him another shot.
This time, Jones has not relented. He has started each of the last three games at right tackle, and those games have coincided with a surge in the Pittsburgh running game. The Steelers rushed for 166, 205 and 172 yards in Jones’ three starts at right tackle. The most they ran for with I’m not in the lineup was 105 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders.
On a per-rush basis, the team’s top four games were all games that Jones played in, and the last three are the top three, with the Steelers rushing for 6.6 yards per carry against the Cleveland Browns last week.
Jones has been front and center in that improved rushing game, with Jaylen Warren’s 74-yard touchdown coming right behind the big Georgia rookie.
— Blitzburgh (@Blitz_Burgh) November 19, 2023
The improved results in the ground game have not come with negativity in pass blocking, either. Jones has allowed eight pressures in 172 pass-block snaps, for a 97.2% efficiency, according to Pro Football Focus charting. Okorafor had a 97.% pass-block efficiency in his playing time at right tackle.
A 6-foot-5, 311-pound Lithonia, Georgia native, the Steelers traded up three spots in the first round to get Jones, sending the 140th pick to the New England Patriots in compensation. Jones was a two-year starter at Georgia, playing right tackle his freshman year before moving to the left. He started his Steelers career behind Moore at left tackle before getting his opportunity on the right side.