2023 Steelers Post-Draft Roster Review: The Offensive Line

The major events of the 2023 NFL offseason are now complete. With the free agency period and the NFL Draft now behind us, we look ahead at how the Steelers roster has molded from the end of last season until now, and evaluate those changes heading toward training camp, the preseason, and the regular season.

Another area that has been a cause of concern for the Steelers in recent memory is the offensive line. For those folks who also follow our Steel City Underground Podcast, we’ve been mentioning for some time how the process would take roughly three years to sort itself out while the team found five new starters.

While that process began several years ago, it also carried into this offseason. Here’s how the lineup looked at the end of the 2022 season.

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End of Season Depth Chart

The obvious weak links in the Steelers offense last season were Moore (left tackle) and Dotson (left guard). The pair would routinely struggle and needed upgrades were apparent.

Free Agency Review

This room would get shaken to its core once again this offseason, starting with free agency. Assistant General Manager Andy Weidl would lean on bringing in players from his former employer, the Philadelphia Eagles, as the Steelers signed the top free agent guard, Isaac Seumalo. Nate Herbig, a former Eagle who was with the Jets, factors into being a backup guard and perhaps dabble as a backup center as well.

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NFL Draft Review

The Steelers made a major play at a position many speculated they were focusing on in this year’s draft, when they traded up three spots with the New England Patriots to select Georgia OT Broderick Jones with pick 14.

Wisely, new GM Omar Khan recognized the worst kept secret of the New York Jets, who held pick 15, seeking an offensive tackle. There’s speculation that Bill Belichick, the head coach of the Patriots who also doubles as the team’s general manager, wanted to “screw” the Jets. (Sports bettors would’ve had a field day with this move if they used this BetMGM Massachusetts bonus code during the draft!)

Whether that’s true or not, that was the fallout, as the Steelers were able to get their guy with Jones: who should immediately see the field as an upgrade over Dan Moore Jr.

Pittsburgh also drafted Maryland guard Spencer Anderson in the seventh round.

Post-Draft Position Roster

  • Mason Cole
  • James Daniels
  • Isaac Seumalo
  • Chukwuma Okorafor
  • Broderick Jones
  • Nate Herbig
  • Dan Moore Jr.
  • Kevin Dotson
  • Kendrick Green
  • Spencer Anderson
  • Dylan Cook
  • Ryan McCollum
  • Le’Raven Clark
  • William Dunkle

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Position Review

When the 2020 NFL season kicked off, the Steelers offensive line consisted of the following starters:

Within a week the same lineup shifted to:

  • Maurkice Pouncey
  • David DeCastro
  • Matt Feiler
  • Alejandro Villanueva
  • Chukwuma Okorafor

Obviously, you can see which players are no longer with the team, as others were added to try and fill the gaps due to free agent departures and career retirements. Notable names such as Trai Turner and draft picks such as Green and Moore were unable to fill the void overnight.

Now the process appears to be complete, with a hopeful franchise left tackle under a rookie contract, signing the two best free agent guards in back-to-back years, and developing, plus retaining Okorafor and adding Cole at center.

The paradigm shift should be huge for not only second-year QB Kenny Pickett, but also RB Najee Harris. The left side of the Steelers line is no longer a liability, and the interior of the line is also incredibly strong, which should give Pickett more protection (and time to throw) plus open holes in the run game for Harris, or even backup RB Jaylen Warren.

The depth behind each of these players is also different. Hassenauer wasn’t brought back at center, which leaves the biggest question mark. Otherwise, Herbig will fit in nicely while Moore can act as a swing tackle. Green and Dotson will have to fight for a roster spot on what is now a top-heavy area on the roster, which also leads to high expectations for the Steelers offense (as already noted!)

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