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Steelers OT Overview: Is It Broderick Jones' Job Already?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have one competition that changes their entire offense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers' 90-man roster is set, and there are plenty of position battles ahead of them. 

The offensive tackle position was a much-maligned group a year ago, but plenty of fresh faces have arrived. An upcoming battle for the left tackle position will be highly entertaining throughout the summer. Who else has the chance to make the roster? 

Starter: Chukwuma Okorafor

It feels like Chukwuma Okorafor has been around forever, but he's still yet to turn 26 years old despite heading into his sixth season as a pro. The former third-round pick received a three-year contract last spring just days into the free agency period. The book is out on Okorafor as a player. He's a solid pass-protecting right tackle who is quick out of his stance and holds his own in most matchups. However, he's also a bit of a net negative in the run game, offering little boost in that phase of the game.

The biggest improvement from Okorafor this past season was that he was able to reduce the number of penalties by seven. He's a baseline starter at a pretty crucial position, and with James Daniels returning, Pittsburgh is keeping the right side of their line intact for another year. Okorafor's cap hit rises the next two seasons, and that's certainly something to monitor, but as of right now, he's firmly entrenched as the team's starting right tackle moving forward. 

Fighting For a Starting Spot: Dan Moore Jr., Broderick Jones

Pittsburgh had no other choice but to throw Dan Moore Jr. right into the fire as a rookie back in 2021, and even after his struggles, they elected to run it back for another season. To be fair, Moore did improve in some areas, but he was often penalized and struggled in pass protection through stretches of the season. Moore's biggest issue remains his shaky anchor, and edge rushers have routinely been able to exploit that over time.

Moore's a solid run blocker and, overall, a pretty good athlete at the position. He flashed some promise down the stretch, only allowing one sack through the final six games of the season. Having said that, there's a reason that Pittsburgh traded up to draft a left tackle, and he's going to need a spectacular summer to maintain his starting position for very long in 2023. The more realistic outcome is that he's the team's swing tackle which isn't the worst thing in the world from a roster-building perspective. 

In his first-ever NFL Draft, general manager Omar Khan made the call to move up and secure their new franchise left tackle. At 6-5, 310 pounds with excess length, Jones is the prototypical build for what teams are looking for at the position. He was an integral part of the Georgia Bulldogs' run game last season, which helped catapult the school all the way to a National Championship. Jones can easily cave in blockers with strength while also having the foot speed and tracking ability to navigate on the edge when pulling in space.

He didn't technically allow a sack last season, but there is still work to be done in pass protection. In college, he was mostly coasting on his raw ability rather than his technique and needs major refinement in terms of his hand usage. He'll often be caught carrying his hands low and being late to the fight, allowing defenders to get into his chest unabated. There will likely be some growing pains for Jones but live reps against better competition will be good for the rookie. Expect Pittsburgh to give him every single chance to win this job outright coming out of training camp.

Fighting For a Spot: Le'Raven Clark

After starting his career with the Indianapolis Colts, then moving on to stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans, La'Raven Clark's next stop is with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The first thing that stands out about Clark is his massive wingspan, with 36 1/8 arms. He's a veteran who's been around the block a few times, with over 1,200 snaps played in his career. He's spent time at both tackle spots, which is a plus. Assistant general manager Andy Wiedl is familiar with Clark, and if the Steelers elect to keep four tackles on the roster, he's a solid bet to be the last name on board. 

Fighting For a Practice Squad Spot: Jarrid Williams, Dylan Cook

There are strong Philadephia Eagles ties within the organization, and Jarrid Williams is just another example of that. Williams played sparingly last year during the preseason, with all of his snaps coming at right tackle. He faces an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster, but a practice squad spot isn't out of the question.

Dylan Cook is a Montana product who's just 25 years old, having yet to make his NFL debut. He spent last preseason with the Tampa Bay Bucs and only allowed two pressures across 44 pass-blocking snaps, with all of those coming at left tackle, according to PFF. 

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