For this edition of the Steelers Post-Draft Roster Review, we take a look at arguably the most polarizing position on the team, other than the obvious quarterback situation. The offensive line (OL) group for this 2022 rendition of the Pittsburgh Steelers is young and athletic, but also has some question marks that could make or break the entire offense depending on what the answers to those questions turn out to be.
Due to the sheer volume of players in this group, I’ll be changing up the format slightly from the other Roster Review projects to keep this from becoming a small novel. So let’s take a look at new OL coach, Pat Meyer’s group of guys and what they bring to the table. No pun intended.
Note: Player positions are pulled directly from the Steelers official roster on steelers.com.
Guard: Nate Gilliam
Center: Kendrick Green, J.C. Hassenauer, Chris Owens
OL: Mason Cole, James Daniels, Kevin Dotson, Chukwuma Okorafor, John Leglue, Trent Scott
Offensive Tackle: Dan Moore, Jr., Jake Dixon, Jordan Tucker
Tackle: Joe Haeg, Chaz Green
The Steelers recent voluntary OTAs (Organized Team Activities) have given us a peek into how the players above fit into the depth chart pecking order early on. The newest Free Agent additions to this group, Mason Cole (Minnesota) and James Daniels (Chicago), have immediately stepped into prominent roles on the team, taking first-team reps at Center and Right Guard (RG) respectively right out of the gate. Their ability to provide upgrades at those positions will go a long way to making this unit a strength of the team in 2022, as opposed to the colossal weakness it was in 2021.
The returning starters from 2021 include 2nd-year Left Tackle (LT) Dan Moore, Jr., Left Guard (LG) Kevin Dotson, and the recently re-signed veteran at Right Tackle (RT) Chuks Okorafor. Despite struggling mightily at times last year, hope is high that Moore can build off of what was really a decent Rookie campaign, especially when you consider he was a 4th Round pick. For Dotson, he’s likely on his last opportunity to prove that he can take his raw physical talent and apply it at a top-tier level. He’ll need a real jump in production to get back into the good graces of his coaches and enter the season as the starter at LG. One of the bigger surprises of the offseason was the Steelers decision to bring back the embattled Okorafor on a sizable contract to man the RT spot again in 2022. If he can take another step forward as a player, the reward may prove to be worth the risk.
Behind the players mentioned above is a sprawling list of versatile veterans and undrafted underdogs, each looking to lock down a role on the team. Joe Haeg and J.C. Hassenauer are good depth pieces that can provide solid fill-in duties when called upon. The one exception on this list, and the position group’s biggest wild card, is 2nd-year player Kendrick Green. Once pegged last year as the likely successor to Franchise Legend Maukice Pouncey, Green struggled to make any sort of positive impact from the Center position his Rookie year. Whether his smaller frame, the pressure of the position, or some combination of the two led to him getting bullied regularly at the point of attack doesn’t matter now. For Green, his ability to show improvement in all facets and make better use of his unique athleticism in year two could lead to a surprise starting role for him come the Regular Season either at Center or LG.
Depth Chart Prediction
You probably wouldn’t expect it for a group that was so poor the year prior, but most of the starting jobs along the OL seem to be fairly locked and loaded. There is always the potential for a surprise breakout from an unexpected player or a late Free Agency addition as cuts are made during Training Camp, but for now the competitions at LT, RG, and RT have a clear leader in the clubhouse. In my opinion, the Center position isn’t far behind, with veteran Mason Cole the heavy favorite to replace the incumbent Green. Where the depth pieces fall into place will be interesting as well.
The Steelers 2022 OL unit has a chance to be a good, not great, group. If the team’s Free Agency acquisitions fit in well and the in-house talent takes a step forward in their respective levels of development, what was a big time problem for Pittsburgh last year could be a reason for success in 2022.
LT: Dan Moore, Jr., Joe Haeg
LG: Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green
C: Mason Cole, Kendrick Green, J.C. Hassenauer
RG: James Daniels, John Leglue
RT: Chukwuma Okorafor, Joe Haeg
Practice Squad: Chaz Green, Trent Scott, Nate Gilliam
Will Kendrick Green have a starting job by Week 1 of the Regular Season?
This poll is closed
Yes, he’s going to beat out Mason Cole at Center.
Yes, but he’ll make the switch to Guard.
No, he’s a backup this year.