After some recent depth chart moves, the Steelers are essentially between two candidates at starting right tackle. Here’s who could win the job in 2020.
Recent reports stated that Mike Tomlin made some changes to the Pittsburgh Steelers depth chart prior to the start of training camp. According to Teresa Varley of ESPN, Tomlin intends to kick former right tackle Matt Feiler inside to offensive guard and use Tyson Alualu at nose tackle – a position previously occupied by Javon Hargrave.
While these changes help answer a lot of the questions that many of us had going into the offseason, one big question still remains: Who will be the starting right tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020?
Before Feiler took over at the position full-time in 2018, Marcus Gilbert had occupied the spot for eight straight seasons. Now, there are more question marks at right tackle than there has been in a decade.
Which OT will win a starting spot for Steelers?
Banner was originally drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He was 353 pounds at the NFL Combine, and there were reports that he put on even more weight in his first NFL season.
The former USC product didn’t work out with the Colts, and he spent time in Cleveland before finding a home with the Steelers last year. Since the start of his NFL career, Banner has made major strides and has transformed his body to look like an NFL tackle.
Chukwuma Okorafor is the other candidate on the roster who could potentially start at right tackle this year. Okorafor tested as a much better athlete than Banner coming out in 2018, but the former third-round draft choice had a lot of technical issues that needed to be addressed.
Both players have now had ample time working as backups on the Steelers offensive line, and one will emerge as the starter by the end of training camp. Though it’s still unclear at this point which offensive tackle will take the next step forward, my money would be on Zach Banner.
Mike Tomlin is a big fan of Banner and the Steelers head coach has expressed aspirations of turning him into a Pro Bowl NFL tackle. Though Banner isn’t as quick-footed as Okorafor, he has superior play strength and his strong body type makes him an ideal candidate as Ben Roethlisberger’s frontside protector.
It’s hard to say for sure which player will win the starting right tackle spot, but I think Okorafor may be a candidate to take over on at left tackle if Alejandro Villanueva leaves after the 2020 season. As of now, I think Zach Banner is just ahead in this two-man race to start at right tackle.