2023 NFL Draft
Steelers Not Hiding Interest in Ohio State OT Dawand Jones
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It’s safe to say that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has taken an interest in gigantic Ohio State tackle and 2023 NFL Draft prospect Dawand Jones.
Tomlin took Jones, along with three of his teammates out to dinner before the Ohio State pro day in Columbus on Wednesday. But while left tackle Paris Johnson Jr. is expected to go in the first 10 picks and center Luke Wypler and edge rusher Zach Harrison are probably day two choices, the Steelers’ second pick of the 2023 NFL Draft lands right about where Jones is expected to be taken.
“It went well,” Jones said. “He really connected with me. Good guy, Mike really connects with the guys. Everybody else was there and the GM, they made sure we felt taken care of.”
Jones said he expects to be taken somewhere in the first or second round, and the Steelers’ second pick at No. 32 falls right in the middle of that range. Many at Ohio State would be surprised if the Steelers let the 6-foot-8, 374-pound right tackle. tackle fall past them, given their obvious interest.
At dinner on Tuesday night, Tomlin tried to convince Jones to try oysters for the first time. At pro day on Wednesday, when Jones declined to weigh in again after having done so at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, Tomlin gave him a little chirp. “You’re too good to weigh, in, huh?” Tomlin joked with the Jones.
After the workouts that Jones declined to partake in Wednesday, Jones’ mother was trying to track down Tomlin
The interest from the Steelers in the big man makes sense. The team has committed itself to making upgrades in the trenches this offseason, and started down the road with the singing of guards Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig. But the tackle position did not get addressed in free agency, and unless Paris Johnson or another unexpected player falls to the Steelers at No. 17, it doesn’t seem likely that the Steelers will be able to address it in the first round, either.
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There are other options besides Jones that fit that bill, such as Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison and Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron. But the Steelers are rarely shy about making their favorites known, and it’s pretty clear that Tomlin and company are big fans from the big man at Ohio State.
The Steelers met with Jones at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. They saw him again at the NFL Combine and a third time at pro day this week. He’s also taking a top 30 visit to Pittsburgh. The time after that, he might be making the three-hour trip from Columbus to Pittsburgh as a member of the black and gold.