Did Broderick Jones just skyrocket as the most likely pick for the Steelers?

Steelers, Broderick Jones
Steelers, Broderick Jones / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Broderick Jones is a name that has been linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers since the beginning of the pre-draft process -- and for obvious reasons. After Matt Canada's offense mustered up just 18.1 points per game in 2022, offensive tackle was identified as a major need.

In fact, next to only Joey Porter Jr., Jones has been the most frequently mocked player to Pittsburgh in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, according to NFL Mock Draft Database. The connection is far more than just smoke or wishful thinking by Steelers fans.

Pittsburgh's brass had a formal meeting with Jones back at the NFL Combine, but their interest didn't end there. Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan were on hand at Georgia's Pro Day to observe the talented offensive tackle. Checking these boxes is enough to be a first-round candidate, but the Steelers took it a step further.

On April 17th, just ten days before the start of the NFL Draft, ESPN's Brooke Pryor confirmed that Broderick Jones was in the facility for a pre-draft visit with the team. This visit gives Jones the trifecta -- checking all three boxes when it comes to meeting with Pittsburgh's brain trust at the Combine, pro-day, and for a pre-draft visit.

Steelers may view Broderick Jones as the ultimate prize at pick 17

This meeting with Jones was interesting for a number of reasons. For starters, this is a player they were obviously very familiar with. Even without the pre-draft visit, Broderick already checked enough boxes to be the team's pick with the 17th overall selection in the NFL Draft.

However, on a more interesting note, the Steelers already had a total of 32 pre-draft visits that either took place or were scheduled to take place (2 were local and don't count toward their total).

This means that the meeting with Jones was unexpected. Because they decided to bring in Jones, Pittsburgh was required to cancel a visit in his place (they did the same with Clemson DT Bryan Bresee). We don't know at this time which two scheduled visits were terminated to make room for Jones and Bresee.

Jones joins a very small list of just four total players to earn a Combine visit, pre-draft visit, and pro day from the Steelers in 2022. The other three players are Joey Porter Jr., Bryan Bresee, and Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo. You can view every visit on our live tracker.

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What we do know is that the Steelers are deadly serious about taking Broderick Jones at pick 17 at this point -- perhaps even more than any other player. If he's on the board when their pick rolls around, consider him a very likely candidate to be the selection. With the interest as strong as it is, we can't rule them trading up a bit to secure him in the 2023 NFL Draft.