The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team who rarely finds themselves befuddled during the course of an NFL Draft. The 2023 NFL Draft was no different. When the Steelers’ pick was coming up at No. 17, they wasted little time deciding to make a move to get the player they want. The result was a trade with the New England Patriots for pick No. 14. The pick was obvious.
University of Georgie, OT, Broderick Jones.
Immediately, from the moment the pick was made, a ripple effect took place throughout the Steelers organization. Some will benefit from the pick, while others will be on the losing side of the selection.
This is where the winners and losers column comes into play. I go through who could be labeled as ‘winners’ after the pick of Pickett, and those who could be labeled ‘losers’.
Let’s get down to it...
This is a no-brainer. Of course Jones is a winner in this situation. The Steelers coveted his skill set enough that they trade up to get him. Has to be a good feeling for a prospect to know a team thinks that highly of you. Is he the perfect prospect? No, but he has the potential the Steelers love in young prospects to develop and be a mainstay within the organization for years to come.
Kenny Pickett / Najee Harris
When you take a left tackle in Round 1, you are making a statement. The statement is simple...we are going to dominate the line of scrimmage. When you mention dominating the line of scrimmage, it isn’t just in run blocking, but also pass blocking. Jones was one of the least penalized players in college football last year, and has a nasty demeanor about him in run blocking. I think Pickett and Harris should both be happy with the team’s decision in Round 1.
Remember when fans hated the Pat Meyer hire last offseason? Well, he slowly turned around the offensive line, and after one season he gets a top pick to work with. As said earlier, Jones isn’t a finished product, but Meyer might be just the man for the job to mold him into something really special.
While Canada has been almost MIA this offseason, he has to be giddy with happiness over this draft pick. Getting the rock left tackle which can help set the tone for the offense will be paramount for Canada’s offense being successful. Many will doubt he is even capable of that, more on that later, but Canada is a winner with this pick.
Khan is aggressive. He tried to pass it off in the post-pick press conference, but Mike Tomlin even chimed in and said how aggressive Khan has been. This is a change of philosophy from his predecessor, and it isn’t a bad thing. A good start for Khan, but plenty of work still yet to be done...especially with what he does at pick No. 32.
Dan Moore Jr.
Of course Dan Moore is the top loser on the list. No, this isn’t personal, this is just the Steelers suggesting they aren’t willing to wait on Moore to develop. They did the same thing at guard when they signed Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig to challenge Kevin Dotson. Moore will have a shot to keep his job, but the Steelers weren’t going to sit on their hands and hope for the best. Competition starts now.
Okorafor might be sitting there thinking his job is safe as the right tackle, but in the post-pick press conference both Khan and Mike Tomlin made it clear they aren’t going to only put Jones strictly on one side of the offensive line. Jones practiced regularly on the right side, and the Steelers might view him as an option at either left or right tackle. As stated before, competition is a good thing, and it will be present all along the offensive line heading into 2023.
You might see this and think, “How can you have Canada as a winner and loser?!” Well, it happens. Canada should be stoked with the pick, but it also leaves him without a crutch if the offense flounders. Canada can’t say he didn’t have the players necessary to make his offense click. He has the quarterback, running back, tight end, wide receivers and now the offensive line. Time to put up, or ship out at season’s end.
This was a topic of discussion on my Friday “Let’s Ride” podcast, which you can hear in the player below: