Irrespective of free agency concerns, I think most would agree that the offensive line is the prime area of the team at which the Pittsburgh Steelers can upgrade. At the very least, it has to be in the top three. Perhaps inside linebacker or something is up there as well.
NFL film analyst Greg Cosell agrees that the Steelers “need to address” the offensive line this offseason. But it might not be where you might think. He told Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller that he would start on the interior offensive line. In fact, he believes in left tackle Dan Moore Jr.
“I really liked the left tackle when he came out of college, Moore”, he said on the air yesterday. “He was in the SEC and he consistently blocked all the good pass rushers that he played against in the SEC. I think he can be a really solid player”.
“Do I think he’s gonna be the best left tackle in the league? Probably not”, he added. “I don’t know if that would be the first place I’d start. I think he can play. I think the interior of the line needs some work. So, overall, yeah, I’d probably say they need to address it”.
A 2021 fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M, he doesn’t have elite pedigree as a mid-round draft pick, but he’s gotten two seasons’ worth of starts under his belt. And I have a feeling that those who consistently watch tape come away with a better overall impression of him than those who look at Pro Football Focus grades.
With that being said, if I had a shot in the draft at both a blue-chip tackle and a blue-chip guard in the first round, I’m still taking the tackle. After all, you want somebody who’s going to be blocking for Kenny Pickett for the next 15 years or so, right? Is that Moore?
Then again, how often did Ben Roethlisberger have elite blindside protection? Much of his career came with Max Starks on his left side, who was largely serviceable but far from elite. He certainly made Roethlisberger move around in the pocket.
Kelvin Beachum and Alejandro Villanueva also did well, but neither were elite, either, nor even consistently great. Villanueva did make a Pro Bowl or two, though I don’t think he was even as good as Marcus Gilbert was at his best.
The odds are the Steelers aren’t going to have a franchise left tackle fall into their lap over the next few months, though, so there’s a more than reasonable chance Moore is going to be their starter whether they have a strong desire to try to replace him or not.
I don’t think we’re going to see Mason Cole removed from center, either, and, obviously, James Daniels is settled at right guard. So that leaves Kevin Dotson at left guard as the starting lineman arguably most at risk of losing his position. it doesn’t help him that he’s in the last year of his deal, either, while everyone else has at least two years remaining.