Pittsburgh Steelers DL Cameron Heyward is the longest-tenured member of the team, and as a result, he becomes the elder statesman of sorts when it comes to talking about the state of the team. Before Pittsburgh’s first training camp practice today at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Heyward was asked his thoughts on the left tackle position battle between rookie Broderick Jones and incumbent starter Dan Moore Jr.
“Broderick’s gotta come along, but he’s going to have his fair share of work. Whether it’s Alex Highsmith, me, Isaiah Loudermilk, and then Markus Golden. I think he’s going to get plenty of work in the ones and twos,” Heyward said about Jones via Steelers Live on Twitter.
He then touched on Moore and was particularly complimentary of how he transformed his body this offseason.
“I think his body looks completely different. I think he’s really taken good care of it. He looks stronger, more fit. And I just think he should have a better sense. That’s not gonna come with any lumps but I think he’s gotta show that he’s going into his third year, and he’s got those reps under his belt. We’ll see who wins that battle,” Heyward said.
While Jones is the rookie first-round pick and has more buzz heading into camp, the job isn’t going to be given to him. Moore has started each of the past two seasons and has progressed throughout his tenure. With him getting into better shape and having more experience, he could show enough to win the job.
Jones is more enticing due to his athleticism and ability to get out and block in space. Moore’s work as a pass blocker might be better right now though, and couple that with his experience and growth and he could be ready to show more during training camp. Ultimately though, the Steelers would probably prefer Jones to win the job, as Moore has more flexibility between right and left tackle and could function as the team’s swing tackle whereas Jones is pretty much exclusively working at left tackle.
It’s going to be the most-watched battle during training camp, and it’s one I truly feel could come down to the wire. Jones has to refine his technique and get used to the NFL game, while Moore has to show he’s taken real steps to become a better player and ascend as a starting tackle. While I think Jones is likely to start at some point throughout the year, Moore certainly has a shot to win the job and start Week 1.
After Day 1 of camp without pads, there isn’t much to ascertain about who the leader in the clubhouse is. But we might have more clarity in a week or so, and I’m very interested to see how this competition turns out.