3 reasons the Steelers shouldn’t address OT in the 1st round

Alex Leatherwood #70 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Alex Leatherwood #70 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Offensive tackle Zach Banner #72 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) /

Inhouse options

While the Steelers are likely set to lose left tackle Alejandro Villanueva in free agency, that doesn’t mean they are void of options at tackle. This year, they saw Chukwuma Okorafor admirably fill in at right tackle for most of the year. The former third-round pick was raw coming out of college, so it made sense that it took him an extra year to see the field before actually contributing. He had his lumps sure, but he seemed like an average to above-average option at right tackle.

As well, many seem to forget that Zach Banner was set to be the starting right tackle for this season before he was lost early in the year to injury. While he is a free agent, it seems extremely likely that he is back next year on a cheap deal so he can rebuild his value. Again, he won the battle out of camp. That means that the Steelers envisioned him being the better tackle than Okorafor who was ok this past year.

More than likely, even if the Steelers draft a tackle in the first this season, the beginning of the year starters will be Okorafor at left tackle and Banner at right tackle. This doesn’t mean a rookie would be forced to ride the bench, as the team likes to employ a third tackle as a tight end on occasion. That said, if that rookie came from a later pick, that role of top reserve tackle would be easier to deal with. The Steelers top pick wouldn’t be a backup most of the year then. Again, tackle is a need, and one that should be addressed, but the team could arguably wait on it and still get production from their starters.