As we move toward the draft, one position that was the Steelers biggest need heading into the offseason has virtually not been talked about nearly as much. That, of course, being the Steelers offensive line. With the signings of James Daniels, Mason Cole, and the re-signing of Chukwuma Okorafor, the need to draft a player at this spot significantly dropped. The Steelers offensive line still is far from perfect, so taking one player at the position is still ideal. But with depth problems and missing starters at a number of other key positions, it is somewhat likely the team walks away from the 2022 NFL Draft with one (or less) offensive lineman. So should they use that pick to sure up the tackle position or add another body that can compete with the middle three positions?
First, let’s take a look at the Steelers starters at tackle and the depth pieces currently behind them:
Left Tackle: Dan Moore Jr.
Right Tackle: Chuks Okorafor
Swing Tackle: Joe Haeg
Depth Pieces: Chazz Green
Upon first inspection, the first notable thing is there aren't that many bodies at offensive tackle. The Steelers are also returning the same three guys that ended the year at the top of the depth chart. With Dan Moore getting an opportunity to improve, and Okorafor having a brand new contract, it is kind of hard to fathom the Steelers using high capital on the spot. But they do need at least one more body to enter camp. The team doesn't have to dedicate much to the position, so a draft pick isn't a certainty. But, don't be surprised if the Steelers use one of their day three picks to round out this group.
Now lets look at the Steelers’ depth chart, in my opinion, along the interior positions:
Left Guard: Kevin Dotson
Center: Mason Cole
Right Guard: James Daniels
Primary Backup: Kendrick Green
Depth Pieces: John LeGlue, J.C. Hassenauer, Malcolm Pridgeon, Nate Gilliam
Obviously, the Steelers have a whole heck of a lot more going on here than they do at tackle. But just because they have a lot of names here doesn't necessarily mean they are better set. The addition of James Daniels was a massive one, Mason Cole is ideally your teams middle three back up, and Kevin Dotson has been in the dog house a number of times in his young career. With how Iowa Hawkeyes prospect Center, Tyler Linderbaum has somehow slipped into a Round 2 prospect, I wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers scooped up one of the best Center prospects to come out in years if he makes it to the 52nd pick.
I think it is more likely that the Steelers use an early-round pick on the interior of its line, but more likely to use a late round pick at tackle. Depending on how the cards fall, the Steelers might not draft either position regardless. In a perfect world, the Steelers snatch up Linderbaum at 52 and get a project piece in the seventh round. It is important to keep in mind this team can walk into the 2022 season with the guys they have on roster and be more successful than what they showed in 2021.
But what do you think? Are the Steelers more likely to draft an interior offensive lineman or an offensive tackle first? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.