2023 NFL Draft
Pouncey Mentality? O’Cyrus Torrence Could Be Another Steelers OL Anchor from Florida
MOBILE, Ala. — The Pittsburgh Steelers have been attempting to rebuild their offensive line for a few years now, following the retirements of stalwarts David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey and Alejandro Villanueva.
Their first big effort came with the drafting of Kendrick Green and Dan Moore with mid-round draft picks in 2021, and that seems to have been mostly a whiff, with Green benched for all of 2022 and Moore struggling through his second season.
Their second effort came in the form of stop gaps, with the team singing free agents Mason Cole and James Daniels ahead of the 2022 season to shore up the center and right guard spots.
But if the Steelers want to get back to the kind of dynastic offensive line, it will take investing in — and hitting on — some higher-end draft picks to revitalize the unit long-term.
They could to that starting this week, and in doing so, they could look back to a place that has provided them two such offensive line stalwarts in the past.
The Steelers got Max Starks out of the University of Florida with a third-round pick in 2004 and he ran their right tackle spot for nine years. In 2010, they used their first-round pick on another Gator in Pouncey, who served 11 years in the center of the Pittsburgh line.
The next one up could be Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence. Torrence has only been at Florida for one season, after three seasons at Louisiana. But he comes with the same kind of mindset and the same kind of profile as those Steelers great.
Torrence is a great run blocker, a capable pass protector, and a bully on the field that loves competing on every snap. Seeking out that competition is why he moved from Louisiana — where he teamed with current Steelers left guard Kevin Dotson — to Florida via the transfer portal in 2022.
“I wanted to show I could hold my own against bigger, faster players,” Torrence said. “Just different looks and different things I faced in the SEC and here, it just shows that I can really fit in.”
At the Senior Bowl, most of the focus is on the one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive linemen. That means a lot of pass blocking, which is not necessarily Torrence’s strength, but he’s loving the back-and-forth battles.
“I like it,” he said. “You get more recognition if you do good. Even if you do bad, you get a chance to fall, get up and scrape your knees off. Nobody likes to lose, but here, there’s a lot of good players. You’re not going to win every rep, so it’s all about how you react to losing. I feel like that’s a good bit of maturity, too. It shows how you react to a loss.”
Very carefully watching Torrence and the rest of the American Team offensive line in those drills has been Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, and the linemen have been very aware of his presence.
“He said he likes watching the big guys because that’s where all the action is happening,” Torrence said. “No offense to the little guys, but he saw a lot more pads stuff around us and he just liked to the see that. He liked the physicality.”
After drafting a running back and a quarterback in the first round and a tight end and wide receiver in the second round in each of the last two seasons, Tomlin is also pretty well stocked with little guys. It will be the big guys moving forward.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Measured at the Senior Bowl: 6-foot-4 7/8, 337 pounds, 33 7/8-inch arm span, 82-inch wingspan.
O’Cyrus Torrence is getting a brick for a reason pic.twitter.com/XeZ0GMu42q
— Barstool Florida (@UFBarstool) February 2, 2023
O’CYRUS TORRENCE SCOUTING REPORT
Torrence is very, very strong and moves well for a man his size. About the only player all season to really give him trouble with a bull rush was possible No. 1 pick Jalen Carter. He really excels in run blocking, both solo and combo blocks, reaching and climbing to the second level. He has a good first step, but is not a great lateral mover. Torrence makes good use of his long wingspan in those situations. He is not as polished in pass protection, but things like hand placement and footwork can be more easily improved than other areas.
HOW DOES HE FIT?
Torrence would be an immediate upgrade at left guard over Kevin Dotson. He did primarily play on the right side at Florida, so he could be a more comfortable fit there. Torrence played some left guard at Louisiana and Daniels has played both extensively, so the fit works either way. Stylistically, he fits exactly what the Steelers seem to be building for a run-first offense.
WHERE WILL O’CYRUS TORRENCE BE DRAFTED?
Torrence has had a remarkably consistent draft stock since the fall, hopping between 20 and 38 in that time. He’s currently 25th according to NFL Mock Draft Database, with a consensus mock draft pick of No. 27 overall to the Buffalo Bills. Torrence would probably be a slight reach for the Steelers at No. 17, but he could be a fit as either a trade down from the pick or a trade up from their second selection at No. 32. There’s also a chance he just falls to them at 32, as well.
Notable, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has recently mocked Torrence to the Steelers at No. 17, though he admitted they could trade back and still get him.