The starting right tackle spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line is up for grabs. When you think about it, it has been a long time since there has even been a battle to be had along the formidable front that protects Ben Roethlisberger and opens holes for James Conner.
But with the trade of Marcus Gilbert to the Arizona Cardinals for a 6th round draft pick, there is now a starting position up for grabs. Who will win it? It is between Matt Feiler, Chukwuma Okorafor and Jerald Hawkins.
Feiler might be the leader in the clubhouse, considering he started in Gilbert’s stead last season, but Okorafor has come into the Steelers’ Organized Team Activities (OTAs) with a new look. In other words, he has lost some weight.
“I’m down a little bit,” Okorafor told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “so I feel a little bit more fast.”
According to Adamski, Okorafor didn’t divulge how much weight he lost, but wanted to drop around 10-15 pounds before the start of the season. Why did he lose weight?
“Just wanted to get a little quicker,” Okorafor said.
Feiler enters this competition with 10 starts under his belt, and Okorafor has one start under his belt from 2018. While the true competition won’t begin until training camp in late July, Okorafor has been practicing at both left and right tackle throughout OTAs. While Okorafor doesn’t have as much starting experience as Feiler, he does have experience as an extra tight end in heavy packages to help as a run blocker. Who wins this battle is anyone’s guess, but Okorafor seems determined to put his best foot forward in the competition.
The underlying theme throughout this competition will be the ultimate quality of the competition. Feiler proved to be a solid backup, but will he keep that standard as a starter? Okorafor doesn’t have much experience, is he ready for the huge step as a starting right tackle? Jerald Hawkins is the wild card in this whole scenario, and no one outside of the organization can really say how he will play after missing the entire 2018 season with a torn quadriceps.
This camp battle will definitely be one to keep an eye on.