For the first time since 1996, the Pittsburgh Steelers used their first-round pick in the NFL Draft to select an offensive tackle.
The Steelers traded three touchdown runs on the 14th, picking off Broderick Jones of Georgia. He is the first tackle selected by the Steelers in the opening round since Jamain Stephens in 1996.
With standout cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez and Joey Porter Jr. still on the board, the Steelers swung a deal for a tackle to protect the blindside quarterback for sophomore Kenny Pickett.
Reportedly, the New York Jets, who hold the No. 15 pick after the trade to Aaron Rodgers, were interested in taking Jones. However, the Steelers beat them to the punch.
The Steelers gave New England the 17th original pick and the 120th pick overall, a fourth-round pick, to a 6-foot-5-pound sophomore from Redsheet.
As a junior, Jones is expected to compete with 2-year junior Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle.
At Georgia, Jones got into 19 games—and just one season—for the two-time national champion. He played in two games as a freshman reserve and then started the Bulldogs’ last four games at left tackle in 2021.
He emerged as an elite team in 2022 when he started all fifteen games at left tackle.
In Jones’ NFL.com draft profile, he was compared to New York Giants tackle Andrew Thomas, the #4 overall pick in the 2020 draft who made 44 career starts.
He made an official top 30 draft visit to the Steelers on April 15.
Most draft analysts expected the Steelers to make an offensive tackle, defensive end, or strikeout with their first choice. It was a matter of which players — and from what positions — would be available when it was the Steelers’ turn to use the 17th overall pick.
After the quarterback was taken with three of the first four picks, the first cornerback was selected when the Seattle Seahawks took on Devon Witherspoon from Illinois. The Arizona Cardinals swung a deal—already their second of the round—with the Detroit Lions and snatched Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
The Las Vegas Raiders’ top defensive end was Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech. Potential Steelers’ scoring runs were halted when Atlanta took on a Texas running back from Bijan Robinson. Philadelphia stepped up a spot in a trade with Chicago and took the most controversial prospect, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
The second tackle on the board was Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, who went to the Bears at No. 10. Next up was guard/tackle Peter Skowronski of Northwestern, who went to Tennessee.
This resulted in Jones remaining as the top remaining save prospect. At cornerback, Oregon State’s Christian Gonzalez and Penn State’s Porter were also available.
Lukas Van Ness of Iowa went to #13 Green Bay. That was when the Steelers pulled the trigger and jumped in before the New York Jets to get Jones.
The Steelers are hoping these first-round tackles will be better than when they selected Stevens with the 29th pick in 1996. He lost two years later and made 11 starts for the Steelers.
Joe Rutter is a writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Joe via email at [email protected] or via Twitter .
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