NFL Network analyst Charles Davis isn’t subtle about who the Pittsburgh Steelers should draft with their first pick. In a Thursday interview on NFLN’s Path to the Draft, he outlined who Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan need to target on Day One of the 2023 NFL Draft – Georgia OT Broderick Jones.
“They absolutely need him,” Davis told the show. “That’ll protect Kenny Pickett in a big way when you wanna hit that big masher and drive people off the line of scrimmage. That’s Broderick Jones helping Najee Harris. Pittsburgh needs him. That offensive line, help that running back, help the quarterback. He fits perfectly there.”
Jones is regarded as one of the draft’s top tackles, arguably second behind Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., who could wind up a top-10 pick. Long and athletic, Jones was only a 1 1/2-year starter for the Bulldogs but helped them win a pair of national championships. Georgia became the first back-to-back champs in a decade, matching what Alabama did in 2011 and 2012 — the only two schools that can make that claim since the mid-90s. He also showed off his strength at the Combine, knocking Steelers assistant o-line coach Isaac Williams nearly off his feet during a drill.
While Jones might be a little raw, he fits what Pittsburgh is looking for and would be an upgrade at left tackle over Dan Moore Jr. The team’s fourth-round pick in 2021, Moore has started every game for Pittsburgh the last two years and his durability and work ethic are underrated. His game has also improved and his run blocking was an asset in the latter half of the 2022 season. But he’s never going to be a top-tier tackle, not even a top-10 one. Metrically, he’s graded out poorly when compared to other tackles around the league.
Though Jones might look good in a Steelers’ uniform, it’s a dice roll if he’ll be there at #17. Jones could go somewhere in the 10-17 range. In recent mocks, he’s been slotted #10 to the Philadelphia Eagles, #9 to the Cincinnati Bengals, #13 to the New York Jets, and #14 to the New England Patriots.
Jones is the type of player GM Omar Khan, in his first NFL Draft, might consider trading up for. During the offseason, Khan has made it clear he’s not opposed to moving up. Under Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh only traded up in the first round three times, acquiring Troy Polamalu, Santonio Holmes, and Devin Bush. It’s a new regime under Khan, who might be more likely to go “get his guy.”