Steelers’ Khan moves up, grabs Broderick Jones in first round

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft wasn’t boring as wheeling and dealing of pick position started early and made the wait harder for Pittsburgh Steelers fans for No. 17. General manager Omar Khan, who’d been hustling like a genius during free agency, made his own move when the Steelers traded up with the New England Patriots to pick 14 to select left tackle Broderick Jones (Georgia).

There had been plenty of off-season chatter and debate among NFL draft analysts, mock drafters, and Steelers fans as to what position Pittsburgh would target in the first round. Offensive tackle was a near-consensus next to cornerback; the offense won out in round one.

The Steelers got their guy in Broderick who allowed zero sacks during his 2022 season at Georgia.

Ohio State left tackle Paris Johnson Jr. was off the board, as was Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter as teams made moves on the draft board. When the Philadelphia Eagles traded up one spot (from ten to nine), they grabbed Carter. It was time to pull the trigger, and Pittsburgh did.

The Steelers gave up just picks 17 and 120 for that 14th pick.

Jones had Top-3 offensive line grades during the NFL Combine earlier this year and helped the Bulldogs win back-to-back National Championship status. He started at left tackle in the final four games of the 2021 season at Georgia and earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team. Jones started at and played all 15 games in 2022 at left tackle.

With uncertainty along the Steelers’ offensive line, the selection not only makes sense but should make Steelers fans very excited. Jones has the athleticism to be a difference-maker for Pittsburgh in both pass protection for Kenny Pickett and run blocking for Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

He’ll definitely be high on the list of players to watch throughout training sessions and camp this spring and summer.

Had Khan not made the trade deal, it’s likely the Steelers would not have gotten top-tier talent at tackle. At least not a true, proven offensive tackle.

How the remainder of the 2023 NFL Draft goes for the Steelers remains to be seen. Could they make any other moves? Who will they pick next?

Stay tuned.

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