Grading each pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 draft class
By Cory Rogers
Round 1 – Pick 14 (from New England) – Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
The Steelers made a huge trade with New England to move up three spots and select the highly coveted Broderick Jones to provide protection for franchise quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Jones (6-5, 311) was widely considered one of the top three offensive tackles in the draft, and perhaps the one with the most upside. The redshirt sophomore only started one full season at left tackle for the Bulldogs but didn’t allow a sack the entire year on way to leading his team to another National Championship and earning First-Team All-SEC honors by the Associated Press in 2022.
Besides his pass protection skills, Jones is a mauler in the run game, which is good news for Steelers running back Najee Harris. Jones loves to get to the second level and get his 10 5/8-inch hands on defenders. He also has great athleticism, running a 4.97 in the 40-yard dash and posting a 30-inch vertical at the combine.
The selection of Jones in the first round by the Steelers marks the first time since 1996 that Pittsburgh has drafted an offensive tackle in the first round (Jamain Stephens). Under Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have spent a first-round draft pick on an offensive lineman twice before, selecting future All-Pros Maurkice Pouncey (Center) and David DeCastro (Guard) in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Jones should be a day-one starter for the Steelers in 2023, most likely replacing 2021 fourth-round pick Dan Moore, Jr. at left tackle. It’s possible Jones could start on the right side early in his career, replacing 2018 third-round draft choice Chukwuma Okorafor, but it’s more likely that Moore will have to battle Okorafor for playing time at right tackle instead.
The Steelers’ first-round selection of Jones, along with the free agency signings of guards Isaac Seumalo (Philadelphia Eagles) and Nate Herbig (New York Jets), is a strong indicator that they’re going back to a more traditional Steelers offensive attack that wins games in the trenches.