Grading the Steelers 2023 class: Strong results across the board

Fans should be pleased with the one-year sample from Pittsburgh's 2023 rookie class.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Broderick Jones / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers grade for Broderick Jones

Grade: C+

It seemed like a minor miracle when the Steelers finally decided to draft an offensive tackle in the first round. The offensive line had regressed in a major way, and instead of actually investing in the group, the team was trying to fit mid-round picks and average players into prominent roles. There was finally a shift in focus to building out the line in 2022, and Broderick Jones was further proof of that last year.

The 2023 draft class featured a really strong tackle group atop the class before falling off in a major way. Frankly, had the Steelers not drafted a tackle in round one, they likely wouldn’t have landed anyone who would have been a feasible starter. It required a move up to get him, but it secured the last potentially elite tackle from the class.

While Jones had all of the traits of a great tackle, he needed a lot of refinement. He was a raw prospect coming out of Georgia, and he wasn’t the most experienced blocker either. While fans clamored for him to start right away, it wasn’t a shock to see him start on the bench. It was, however, a shock to see him earn some playing time early but not get the starting nod.

Eventually, Jones took over for Chukwuma Okorafor, and the results were mixed. It was a relative surprise to see the team want Jones at right tackle, but he shined there in the run game. The issue came in pass defense, as he was a streaky player who struggled at times and gave up pressure.

It wasn’t a failure of a season by any means, but the lack of starting time until the middle of the season mixed in with the hot and cold play does hold his grade back. That said, given his inexperience, he could be in store for a big year two. I’m excited to see that growth and what Jones can accomplish in year two.

Next. 10 upcoming free agent with obvious ties to the Steelers. 10 upcoming free agent with obvious ties to the Steelers. dark

The Steelers draft class was praised on paper and for good reason. The play of the rookies was even better somehow. This class doesn’t have any weak spots right now. The top four picks all have core roles while the day three selections all flashed some good tape. The Steelers should be thrilled with the early returns on Khan’s first draft class.