Predicting Steelers starting offensive line after multiple free agent moves

Minnesota Vikings center Mason Cole (52). Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Vikings center Mason Cole (52). Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers beefed up their offensive line in free agency. Here’s how their starting lineup could look to start the 2022 season. 

We knew early in the 2021 season that the offensive line was going to be a problem. With four new pieces last year and two rookies in the fold, the results were as bad as we could have envisioned.

During post-season press conferences, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Art Rooney II all mentioned the offensive line in some form or fashion as an area that needed to be improved. However, after essentially neglecting the trenches for a decade, fans were pessimistic that this team would actually go out of their way in doing so.

Now we can at least take comfort in the fact that the Steelers are making an effort to better this unit. On the first day of the legal tampering period on March 14th, the team announced that they had come to terms with free-agent offensive lineman, Mason Cole. One day later, fans leaped out of their seats when it was confirmed that we were signing Bears OG James Daniels.

In addition to this, Pittsburgh elected to bring back OT Chukwuma Okorafor on the three-year deal — likely in hopes that the 24-year-old tackle will continue to show improvement.

With these three moves on the offensive line before the actual free agency period even began, we can start to predict what Pittsburgh’s starting OL will look like in 2022.

Steelers projected starting offensive line:

  • LT: Dan Moore Jr.
  • LG: Kevin Dotson
  • C: Mason Cole
  • RG: James Daniels
  • RT: Chukwuma Okorafor

The left tackle position isn’t going to change for the Pittsburgh Steelers unless, of course, they drafted a player like Charles Cross or Trevor Penning in the first round this year. However, both of these players are likely to be gone when pick 20 rolls around and the Steelers could set their sights elsewhere. Dan Moore is projected to be the starter here in 2022.

At left guard, I think Kevin Dotson gets the nod again in 2022. While the coaching staff doesn’t seem to be very high on Dotson and he was injured late in the 2021 season, I think he’s still one of the better offensive linemen on the team, and he will win this job out of camp again.

Mason Cole’s role could be interesting, as he has ample experience at both guard and center. However, I have him kicking back inside to the center position to replace Kendrick Green, who really struggled as a rookie last year. With his current contract, Cole isn’t guaranteed to be a starter, but I think the plan could be to use him at center — a position he played for the Arizona Cardinals prior to joining the Vikings.

James Daniels also has position flexibility. He was drafted as a center out of Iowa but has experience all across the interior line. Daniels started as a left guard but played right guard for the Bears last season. I have him as the right guard for Pittsburgh this year.

Of course, the Steelers aren’t going to pay an offensive tackle $9.75 million per season to ride the bench. While I might not agree with the Chukwuma Okorafor deal, he will be their right tackle in Pittsburgh in 2021. If his play goes south, the team could escape his contract next offseason.

Trending. 3 ways Mitchell Trubisky could be an improvement at QB for Steelers. light

Overall, I think it’s safe to assume that this unit will be better in 2022, and with the NFL Draft on the horizon, we aren’t guaranteed to be done just yet. Let’s hope this offensive line takes a big leap forward this year.