When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Dan Moore Jr. out of Texas A&M in the 4th round of the 2021 NFL Draft, most of the scouting reports all read the same.
“Maybe a starter in a few years.”
The fan base immediately saw this as a glaring negative, and didn’t expect much from Moore in his rookie season.
However, what ensued was Moore coming into camp in great shape, showing a physicality which wasn’t his calling card while at Texas A&M and turning heads from rookie minicamp throughout his first NFL preseason.
After the Steelers’ fourth preseason game, a 34-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Moore was able to reflect on training camp and the preseason. His overall growth has been noticeable, but it hasn’t come without challenges.
“A tremendous amount.” Moore said when asked how much he’s grown as a player this year. “The amount of snaps I’ve gotten, the help that I’ve gotten from vets—offense and defense—the coaches, I think I’ve grown so much.”
You might be wondering who those veterans are who have helped Moore become a more complete offensive lineman, and you might be surprised by some of the names.
“Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, Cam [Heyward], a lot of those guys. [Chris] Worm[ley], even some of the linebackers. Huge help.” Moore said of the defenders who have been helping him hone his craft at the professional level.
Again, it isn’t as if this improvement didn’t come with some bumps in the road, especially since Moore has been asked to play both left and right tackle this preseason.
“It’s definitely been a challenge, especially going to the right.” Moore said. “I’m not very comfortable on the right side. But like I said, just getting more reps and having a great defense to challenge me every day and a great coaching staff to help me with the game plan definitely helps, for sure.”
The fact the Steelers are moving Moore to the right side, as well as getting him repetitions on the left, certainly provides a blue print for what the team plans to do with Moore during the regular season. They are preparing him to be the swing tackle for the offense this season, being able to fill in for both Chuks Okorafor or Zach Banner if they are unable to play.
In fact, some might speculate if Banner is ready for the regular season considering he played only 12 snaps total throughout four preseason games this year. On top of that, Banner didn’t even travel to Carolina, instead staying in Pittsburgh to get treatment, per Mike Tomlin.
If Banner isn’t fully ready to get back on the field, would the Steelers trust Moore enough to have him start at right tackle in Week 1 vs. the Buffalo Bills? Or would they think about using a more seasoned veteran like Joe Haeg to fill that void, if it needs filled?
That has yet to be determined, and is all speculation at this point. Nonetheless, Moore has done enough this preseason to warrant being in the conversation for swing tackle, and first tackle off the bench if needed, and that speaks volumes about the value the Steelers got out of this 4th round pick.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 regular season.