The Pittsburgh Steelers did not simply stand pat and let the draft come to them in Round 1 on Thursday night, instead moving up three spots to get the guy they wanted. The Steelers held steady for both their picks in the second round but traded back in the thrid round to regain the pick they surrendered on Day 1.
After drafting Broderick Jones on Day 1 of the 2023 NFL draft, the Steelers currently have four offensive tackles on the roster. The current projected depth chart at tackle for the Steelers is as follows:
- Chukwuma Okorafor
- Dan Moore Jr.
- Broderick Jones
- La’Raven Clark
As is typically the case, the newly drafted rookie does not land on the top of the list. It does not mean that he would not be able to move up quickly, but the Steelers return two players at tackle that have been the starters the last two seasons and only missed one total snap between them in 2022. With Dan Moore Jr. and Chuks Okorafor having this experience, the Steelers do not have to force Broderick Jones into action too early but also have the competition factor between all three players coming into play in order to see the field.
With Broderick Jones talking on draft night about how he practiced every week at playing right tackle as well as left tackle, the Steelers have all top three players at the position who have been looked at on both sides of the line. Do not be surprised if throughout training camp and the preseason to hear the names of all three tackles on the top of the depth chart getting snaps on both sides of the line. Even though he is obviously the fourth man on the list, Le’Raven Clark is likely to do the same thing.
Also, even if Broderick Jones might find some playing time at right tackle early in his career, it does not mean he would not be the Steelers left tackle in the future. For the 2023 season, the best thing Steelers can do is to put their best combination of offensive lineman on the field.
Just as the Steelers like to do in a typical year, Broderick Jones is not forced into being the Steelers starter from day one of training camp. But, if he follows the path of recent Steelers draft picks taken towards the top of the NFL draft, Jones will have every opportunity to get onto the field early on should he show himself to be the Steelers best option.
To start Day 2, the Steelers added cornerback Joey Porter Jr to the eight players they already have at the position. The current projected depth chart at corner for the Steelers is as follows:
- Patrick Peterson
- Levi Wallace
- Ahkello Witherspoon
- Joey Porter Jr.
- Arthur Maulet
- James Pierre
- Duke Dawson
- Madre Harper
- Chris Wilcox
Exactly where to put Joey Porter Jr. on this list is a bit perplexing because there is a mix of inside and outside players. Arthur Maulet may be further down the list, but is likely the top option at slot corner for the time being but would be utilized more in run situations. As for Porter, he would likely start off running with the second group at outside cornerback when the Steelers do team drills for OTA‘s and as they begin training camp in July. Porter is not going to be thrown into the starting lineup right away, but will have every opportunity to gain playing time in subpackage football as he proves his ability to play at the professional level and has every opportunity to see his role increased.
The next selection on Day 2 saw the Steelers adding nose tackle Keeanu Benton. The current projected depth chart for the 10 players on the defensive line for the Steelers is as follows:
- Cameron Heyward
- Larry Ogunjobi
- Montravius Adams
- Demarvin Leal
- Keeanu Benton
- Isaiahh Loudermilk
- Breiden Fehoko
- Armon Watts
- Jonathan Marshall
- Renell Wren
Much like with Joey Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton simply gets thrown into the middle of a large position group that will sort itself out throughout training camp. It would be surprising to see Benton start off with the first group at nose tackle as that honor will most likely begin with Montravius Adams. Additionally, where Keeanu Benton shakes out with newly acquired Braden Fehoko and Armon Watts is anybody’s guess.
There is a good possibility Keeanu Benton might even start off with the third unit as the Steelers head to Latrobe. But staying there is likely not going to happen for too long. Look for Benton to work into a rotation with the higher groups and could possibly be the team’s top nose tackle by the time the regular season rolls around.
The final selection on Day 2 saw the Steelers trading back 13 spots in the third round and still getting a steal in tight end Darnell Washington. The current projected depth chart for the five players at tight end for the Steelers is as follows:
- Pat Freiermuth
- Zach Gentry
- Darnell Washington
- +Connor Heyward (also listed at fullback)
- Rodney Williams
With Connor Hayward being listed at fullback as well and the fact offensive coordinator Matt Canada said he fit that role more when he was doing the press conference following the selection of Washington, I moved him down the list because he obviously is filling a different role that will probably be more unique to him. But even though he could be used more at H-back on the Steelers offense, it doesn’t mean he’ll be taking up a roster spot that would typically go to three tight ends.
For now, Darnell Washington falls just behind Zach Gentry on the depth chart. But if Washington stays healthy, he should be the Steelers best blocking option at the position and will quickly find himself in the TE2 role.
While this is likely the Steelers depth charts at the moment, there are a lot of things that could change between now and September. Do you think these depth charts are accurate at this time? How do you think they could change as the offseason and season roll on? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.