The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be getting their money's worth early on from rookie offensive tackle Broderick Jones, their 14th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. After trading a fourth-round pick to the New England Patriots, the Steelers were able to slide up three spots from 17 to 14, just ahead of the offensive line-hungry New York Jets at 15, to take the two-time national champion left tackle from Georgia.
Jones is turning heads in the Steelers offseason program, as offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr., Pittsburgh's left tackle for the past two seasons, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he's sliding over to right tackle to open up the blind side slot for the rookie. Jones humbly deflected when asked about being positioned to be the guy at left tackle early on in his career.
"Everyone is getting reps all around the board," Jones said, via the Tribune-Review. "I'm taking it day by day, rep by rep, trying to get better. The defense rotates so much that I'm always going against different people at different times."
Although Jones ended each of the Bulldogs' championship runs as a starter, he only made four starts in 2021 before starting every single game in 2022. Since he's less seasoned than many who get selected in Round 1, organized team activities have been an immersive learning experience for Jones.
"I'm learning new stuff on a daily basis," Jones said. "There are a lot of things to be learned, and there is a lot of stuff I don't know. There is a lot of stuff I have to figure out. At the end of the day, being around older guys, talking to them, taking it in and soaking in the knowledge will help me. By the end of this camp it will make me a better player."
One of the "older guys" Jones has leaned on is the Steelers new left guard, 29-year-old Isaac Seumalo. He spent his first seven NFL seasons with Pennsylvania's other NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles, where he won a Super Bowl in the 2017 season and reached a second one this past season in 2022. Seumalo and Jones are bonding early over 2023 being their first season with the Steelers.
"He's definitely an aggressive guy," Seumalo said on Steelers Nation Radio, per the Tribune-Review. "Sometimes you kind of have to teach young guys to hone that aggression and kind of foster it into a proper angle on a run block or using your hands a certain way. But he's got all the tools. I'm excited to see him grow."
"He's a good person to be around," Jones said of Seumalo. "He's cool, calm and collected. Sitting back and watching him and the way he plays, the way he takes everything is a good reminder for me to sit back and relax, not overthink things and just play the game of football."
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Jones also made clear that he's leaned on the entire offensive line for guidance, namely center Mason Cole (five-year veteran), right guard James Daniels (five-year veteran), and right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor (five-year veteran).
"It's not just one person (who has helped me)," Jones said. "It's even talking to the defensive guys. It's a whole bunch of people out there."
If Jones continues to grow into a comfortable starter at left tackle by the time Week 1 rolls around, quarterback Kenny Pickett could make a significant leap in his second season as Pittsburgh's starting quarterback.