We are just three games into the 2023 NFL season, so it's obviously way too early to tell which position the Pittsburgh Steelers will target first in next April's NFL Draft. Having said that, the writing is on the walls, and it's very easy to see where Mike Tomlin's team is struggling most.
Entering Week 4, the Steelers have a negative point differential (despite their 2-1 record) and are 30th in the NFL in EPA (Expected Points Added). Their offense is scoring just 14.0 points per game, and while Kenny Pickett hasn't played particularly well, the offensive line is currently the biggest issue.
Right now, Pittsburgh's offensive line has collectively graded out as the worst unit in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Their 28.7 pass-block grade is in a tier of its own at the bottom of the NFL.
This past April, the Steelers traded up to the 14th overall pick to select Georgia OT Broderick Jones. In the latest NFL mock draft from CBS Sports, Josh Edwards has them going with an offensive tackle in the first round for the second straight year: BYU's Kingsley Suamataia. Here's what Edwards had to say about the selection with the 17th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft:
"Pittsburgh addresses its offensive line with a first-round pick for the second consecutive year. The jury is still out on Kenny Pickett but the public has already ruled guilty in the case of offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The Steelers need to find some building blocks for the future."- Josh Edwards, CBS Sports
The Steelers don't dip their feet in the BYU pool often, as they typically stick to the scouting regions and schools they are comfortable with. While it might be more likely that they pick an offensive tackle from the ACC or SEC, this is not out of the realm of possibility -- especially with how poorly Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor have been playing to begin the season.
So far this year, Moore is the lowest-graded OT among 67 qualifying players so far this season. His 29.2 overall grade and 19.9 pass-block grade are some of the worst numbers you will see in the PFF era. Okorafor has been better, but certainly not great. His unspectacular play is currently being overshadowed by how badly Moore is getting beat up in the first three weeks.
We know that Broderick Jones is going to get the starting left tackle job soon enough, but they are still in need of a bookend right tackle. Pittsburgh can get out of Okorafor's deal if they choose during the 2024 offseason, and they may be content simply making Dan Moore the future swing tackle (considering he will still be on a rookie contract).
Kingsley Suamataia would certainly help. The BYU standout is listed at 6'6'' and 315 pounds. Suamataia is a right tackle by trade -- which could be a perfect future pairing with Jones. He's incredibly stout at the point of attack, and many have him slated as a future top-20 selection.
It's possible that the Steelers offensive line pulls things together as the season goes on, but Pittsburgh is getting what they paid for in a pair of mid-round picks starting at offensive tackle. We are hoping that Broderick is the answer at left tackle, but the Steelers will still need another OT to pair with him in the future.