Trends give insight on what to expect from Steelers OT Broderick Jones

Recent trends and data give us a baseline of what to expect from Pittsburgh Steelers first-round offensive tackle, Broderick Jones, early in his NFL career.
Steelers, Broderick Jones
Steelers, Broderick Jones / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Prior to trading up to the 14th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to select Georgia OT Broderick Jones, the Pittsburgh Steelers had not taken an offensive tackle in the first round since swinging and missing on Jamain Stephens all the way back in 1996. Stephens played just two seasons in Pittsburgh and started just 11 games.

This is a new era, and the Steelers' history of drafting offensive tackles is no longer relevant. What we can judge is the prospect, and Pittsburgh is getting a high-upside OT in Jones. In addition to this, however, we also have data and recent trends that could give us a starting point of what to expect from our first-round pick.

NFL writer and podcaster Marcus Mosher recently broke down former first-round offensive tackles drafted between 2017 and 2021. Using Pro Football Focus' overall grades, Mosher charted the grade change between year one and year two, and the results were encouraging.

Mosher found that most offensive tackles make a significant leap from their first year to their second. Of the 19 tackles drafted in the first round over this recent five-year span, 12 of them saw a jump in their overall grade. For five of these players, the leap was significant as they improved their overall grade by over 11.0 points. This included former Georgia OT Andrew Thomas (who Jones sat and learned behind).

There is both good and bad news here. The good news is that only 2 of the 19 OTs saw a significant decrease in play from year one to year two. This seems to suggest that the odds of Broderick Jones backsliding during his second season in 2024 are very slim.

The bad news is that many of these offensive tackles had a rough rookie season. 8 of the 19 tackles had a grade below 65.0 as a rookie, and 6 of them had a grade below 60.0.

What Steelers fans should expect from Broderick Jones

The data would suggest that Jones has roughly a 50/50 shot of either being a solid starter or a struggling OT in year one. However, it's encouraging to see the significant leap that most of these offensive tackles made in their second season.

Unfortunately, there's reason to believe that Jones could have his name added to the list of former first-round offensive tackles who struggled during their rookie seasons. Jones was a redshirt sophomore before declaring for the NFL Draft, and after sitting behind both Andrew Thomas and Jamaree Salyer, he has just one full season of starting experience under his belt.

To get more specific, Jones has played a grand total of 1,392 snaps in college, via PFF. In comparison, fellow 2023 first-round OT Darnell Wright played 2,382 college snaps at Tennessee, and Peter Skoronski of Northwestern logged 2,364 snaps despite entering the draft after his junior season.

Many of the offensive tackles who struggled from the gate were underclassmen, and Jones has less experience coming into the NFL than nearly all of them. The encouraging news is that, with as much raw talent and upside as he possesses, Jones could be a candidate to make a significant jump in his second season. The five players to do so were each considered outstanding athletes in college. Broderick tested as a 95th percentile athlete, according to his Relative Athletic Score.


Every player is different, and it's important to consider this case by case. Jones could have a great start to his NFL career or he could struggle from the gate. Based on the data from 19 recent offensive tackles selected in the first round and his lack of college experience, the most likely route for Broderick Jones could be a mediocre rookie season followed by a substantial second-year leap.