The Pittsburgh Steelers could really use a long-term option at left tackle, and they find that despite picking later than expected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Just a few weeks back, Pittsburgh Steelers fans were wondering if this team might end up with a top-five draft choice. Now on a mini winning streak at 5-7 and with some easy games on the horizon, even landing a top-ten pick might not be in the cards.
Players we once dreamed of like Alabama EDGE Will Anderson or Georgia DL Jalen Carter will be long gone. But one position many fans are hoping the team addresses early is offensive tackle. This is still a possibility.
In the latest 2023 NFL mock draft from Touchdown Wire, Doug Farrar has the Pittsburgh Steelers going with Georgia offensive tackle, Broderick Jones, with the 14th overall pick in the draft next April.
Paris Johnson — the top OT prospect by many in this class from Ohio State — is already off the board to the Packers with the 11th overall pick. Penn State OT Olu Fashanu has decided to go back to school for one more year.
Broderick Jones is a likely Steelers first-round candidate
Broderick Jones is an absolute box-checker the Steelers are sure to love. In 2020, Jones was not only a five-star recruit out of high school, but he was also the number two OT recruit in the nation, According to 247 Sports. Jones was also the 11th overall recruit in the entire 2020 class — grading out higher than players like Will Anderson (17th) and Jalen Carter (18th).
This isn’t the only reason Pittsburgh could fall in love with a player like Jones. With the exception of the past two drafts when the Steelers pigeonholed themselves into selecting for need, they have really valued youth in the first round. Jones is only a redshirt sophomore but will have nearly two years of starting experience under his belt — the latter of which comes at left tackle.
Listed at 6’4” and 315 pounds, Jones is on the shorter side as far as NFL offensive tackles go, but he is known for his quick feet and tremendous athletic traits. It doesn’t hurt that Georgia has a pretty good track record when it comes to the OT position. Former Bulldog, Andrew Thomas, is already one of the best left tackles in the NFL.
The Steelers could really use an upgrade over LT Dan Moore Jr., who continues to struggle at one of the games’ most important positions. As a former fourth-rounder, Moore hasn’t been a bad pick, but this is a position in which you don’t want to settle for pedestrian play. Drafting Jones would allow Moore to move back to being the swing tackle and give Pittsburgh excellent depth at the position.
But even with checking nearly every box they look for, the question then becomes: will the Steelers value offensive tackle enough to take one in the first round? This is something that they haven’t done in 26 years when they took Jamain Stephens in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft. It’s certainly possible that new general managers Omar Khan and assistant Andy Weidl bring some different draft philosophies to the table with Kevin Colbert gone and start valuing the trenches.
Broderick Jones isn’t considered an elite prospect, but he’s a young, improving offensive tackle who would fill a very important role for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He will be on their radar in the 2023 NFL Draft.