The Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to No. 14 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft to snipe offensive tackle Broderick Jones. But the move to secure the Georgia product doesn’t mean he’s in line to be the Week 1 starter.
Jones has worked behind veteran Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle all offseason, including in his first preseason action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The rookie is perfectly comfortable learning through the process.
“Me and Dan don’t even look at it as a battle,” Jones said, via The Associated Press. “We just look at it as trying to get better each and every day between me and him.”
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After Moore took 10 snaps with the starting crew last week against the Bucs, Jones entered with the backups. The rookie played 49 offensive snaps (76.7 percent), more than any other Steelers offensive lineman. Jones played solidly but allowed a sack, a QB hit and had one penalty declined, per PFF.
Under coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers aren’t a team that regularly tosses its rookies into the fire without a bit of seasoning first. We saw it with Kenny Pickett last year and are seeing it again with Jones.
Earning playing time is perfectly fine with the 6-foot-5, 311-pound left tackle.
“I’m really not that big on just coming in and, you know, just jumping in with the ones right away,” Jones said. “You know, I like to feel things out.”
The Steelers drafted Jones as the long-term answer on Pickett’s blind side. The rookie has earned muted praise from Tomlin following the rookie’s preseason action.
The question moving forward will be at what point are the Steelers comfortable enough to give Jones a shot at the starting gig. Tomlin’s history suggests it won’t be Week 1, but at some point this season, we could see a changing of the guard at LT.
“I feel like it’s an asset for me just to sit back and watch somebody, you know, who’s older, who’s done it for years,” Jones said. “So just being able to sit back, watch what works for him, what doesn’t, you know, try to implement those small things into my game, you know, I feel like that’s a plus.”
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