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Mike Tomlin ‘Comfortable’ with Steelers Offensive Line after Significant FA Additions

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PHOENIX — Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was not happy with the play of his offensive line in 2022, but after making three free agent additions in the first two weeks of the 2023 offseason, he might be comfortable with the group he has on his roster right now.

Asked if he was happy with the way things stand right now on the first day of the 2023 NFL Annual Meeting on Sunday, Tomlin said, “happy is a dangerous word.”

But after singing free agents Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig and Le’Raven Clark, he does feel better about his outlook for 2023.

“I’m comfortable,” Tomlin said.

The first order of business was taking care of the depth of the unit that Tomlin said was fortunate to not be exposed in 2022, when the starting five offensive linemen started all 17 games.

“I think we were fortunate last year the five primary starters made every football game and so our depth was not challenged,” Tomlin said. “It would be naive to think that we could be in that circumstance again.”

With those five starters also slated to return, the Steelers now have seven offensive linemen that were starters in 2022 for their 2023 squad. 

“We just thought the more starter-capable and starter-experience-like guys we could add to the group, we had an opportunity to create competition and raise our floor,” Tomlin said. “And so we just felt like it was appropriate to fortify depth, create competition and do that with capable people, specifically guys with starter-capable experience.”

Seumalo was a player that the Steelers identified as a potential target when they played against him in 2022. The top guard on the free agent market according to some evaluators, expect Seumalo to start for the Steelers in 2023.

But where might be a different question. Between Seumalo, Herbig, Mason Cole, Kevin Dotson and James Daniels, the Steelers have about a dozen ways that can choose to configure their interior offensive line, and Tomlin doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to figure it out.

“How we sort those guys out remains to be seen,” Tomlin said. “We’ll get those guys in a competitive camp situation and come up with the best five.”

What Tomlin does not appear to have so far is a serious challenger to Dan Moore Jr.’s job as the Steelers’ starting left tackle. While that could change in the 2023 NFL Draft, where potential left tackles Paris Johnson Jr.., Broderick Jones and Peter Skoronski appear just ahead of the Steelers’ top draft slot at No. 17., Tomlin also gave a vote of confidence for Moore on Sunday.

“He’s mature beyond his years,” Tomlin said. “He brings a professional approach. He’s proven to be durable and available, which are big things. He works to eliminate mistakes and that speaks to a continual improvement. I just like what he’s done, but I think it all stems from his mature and professional approach to business. I think that allows all those other things to transpire.”

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