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Changing positions is never easy, and Broderick Jones lived it in 2023

As fans one of the more hasty assumptions is how easy it is to change positions. The sports doesn’t matter in this regard. What’s the difference between playing right wing and left wing in hockey? Short stop and second base can’t be that different. Power forward and shooting guard must be pretty much the same, right?

Of course, in the sport of football people make those same assumptions. Playing left tackle and right tackle are essentially mirrored images of each other. If you can play one, you can play the other. At least that’s the common conception of fans everywhere. But the reality of the situation is it is ridiculously difficult…especially for a young player.

This brings us to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023-2024 season, and 1st Round draft pick Broderick Jones. After being eased into the lineup, it was Week 5 when Jones got his first start on the left side against Baltimore when Dan Moore Jr. was ruled out with a knee injury. That stint was short-lived, and it was later in the season, in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans, that he took over at right tackle for Chuks Okorafor and remained at the spot the remainder of the year.

Let’s go back to the assumption of being able to play both sides with the same amount of ease. Jones played left tackle at the University of Georgia, and he admitted how challenging the transition was for him in his rookie season.

“The more reps I get, the more comfortable I get with it,” said Jones during the season. “Just flipping the plays in my head. Going from one side to the other, just trying to forget what I knew on the left and flip everything. It’s all backwards.”

Former Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert once compared the switch along the offensive line as challenging as trying to drive on the different side of the road after you’ve driven on one side your entire life. Might seem easy, but more challenging than you might believe. Jones even recalled a play in 2023 where he got mentally crossed up and went the wrong way during the home game vs. the Packers.

“Just making sure you are going the right way,” said Jones. “I remember one game, against Green Bay, I went the wrong way. Having that mental toughness and awareness to flip everything.”

If the Steelers want Jones to be their full-time right tackle heading into 2024, he’ll have plenty of time to get acclimated to that side of the offensive line this offseason after he prepares for his sophomore season. However, if the Steelers are still interested in him being the full-time left tackle, allowing him to prepare for that job would also be smart for the organization.

A lot will depend on how the Steelers handle the position of offensive tackle this offseason. Will they bring in a veteran in free agency? Will the attack the position in the 2024 NFL Draft? Or will they do both? That was something which was discussed in an article here this morning, but they clearly view Jones as both capable and willing to flex to either side depending on the strengths, or weaknesses, of any tackle they bring in this offseason.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2024 offseason.


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