Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Dan Moore Jr. got rare experience as a fourth-round rookie in 2021, getting the opportunity to start every game that season. He missed only one start due to injury, but he played every single snap in 2022. Now with 33 starts under his belt, he only sees things continuing to improve.
Fans of the team have debated extensively over how high a priority it should be for the Steelers to try to find an upgrade over Moore at left tackle. Some believe that they could get by with him as they look to address other areas of the roster. Others think they need to draft a left tackle 17th overall.
Either way, Moore still has two years left on his rookie contract, so he’s going to be here. And he’s seen the growth in his own game moving from his first season to his second, something he discussed with Teresa Varley for the team’s website.
“Things were much better this past year”, she quoted him as saying. “Just the feel of the game, the speed of the game, and knowing what to expect. Knowing what I need to get better at. The things I need to work on, how people will try to see nuances in my game and try to attack me. Honestly, just not feeling like a rookie anymore”.
One thing that did not get better, unfortunately, was the cleanliness with which he played. After being flagged five times as a rookie, he had nine called against him in 2022. That included four for holding, and another four for false starts, so the issues were both pre-and post-snap. The other penalty was for illegal formation. Six of the nine came on the road, if that interests anybody to know, including three of the four holds.
Now I personally did not see a night-and-day difference in the overall quality of his performance, truth be told, but I think one a play-to-play basis he did manage to increase his successful play ratio. He still had those snaps where he would look as bad as he ever has, but he wouldn’t get phased and could respond on the very next play by putting an end on his butt.
The Steelers’ other starting tackle is Chukwuma Okorafor, a five-year veteran who has spent the past three seasons as the primary starting right tackle. He had college experience playing on the left side, however, and they intended to start him at left tackle going into the 2021 season.
If the team were to draft a tackle early, and he proved capable of starting right away, they could accommodate in either direction. If the rookie was most comfortable on the left side, he could start there over Moore. Even if he started on the right, they could still hypothetically move Okorafor to the left side, or leave Moore on the left.
Regardless of who starts, though, the depth at tackle is very much a concern. Their swing tackle last season was Trent Scott, someone who would be better suited in the eighth-lineman role rather than being one snap away from starting.