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The Steelers battle at offensive tackle is likely not at the same position

There are always intriguing position battles heading into a training camp each year for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dealing with the proverbial “two dogs, one bone” situation, it is often applied across the number of positions each year as the competition heats up.

One particular position battle Steelers fans will likely be keeping a close eye on is at the starting offensive tackle position. With the Steelers spending their two most recent first-round draft picks at the position, and having a fourth-year player who has 49 regular season starts under his belt at left tackle, the Steelers have the recipe for great competition which should bring about significantly improved play for 2024. With Dan Moore Jr., Broderick Jones, and Troy Fautanu all fighting for a starting position, the exact starting lineup for Week 1 will continue to be debated by Steelers’ Nation for the coming months.

But on which end of the line will there be the competition?

Personally, I don’t think two players are battling for one specific spot. I see the offensive tackle competition playing out in this manner (as long as injury is not a factor):

Broderick Jones will be one of the starting tackles to start the season. Which side of the line he starts or depend on who proves to be the better tackle to start the season between Moore and Fautanu. If it is Moore, Jones will be on the right side with Moore on the left. If Fautanu grabs the spots, I see Jones on the left side with Fautanu on the right.

One of the biggest mistakes fans make when it comes to looking at offensive tackle is they believe the third option, the first player off the bench, needs to be able to play both spots as the “swing tackle.” While this is helpful, it does not have to be the case. With Broderick Jones, showing in 2023 that he is a capable right tackle, and Omar Khan stating in the offseason that the plan is for Jones to eventually play left tackle, he is the viable option at either side. If one of the other two players is not available, Jones may have to switch ends in order for the Steelers to get their best lineup on the field. But Jones not being a starter I believe is the least likely option.

This makes for an intriguing position battle as Broderick Jones can factor into the winner of this competition in a small way. If Fautanu and Moore seem to give the Steelers about the same play, it could come down to which side Broderick Jones seems to be performing better. While this is possible, it probably isn’t the most likely scenario.

If I were to venture how I think things would play out, I would say the safest bet is that the Steelers begin the season with Dan Moore at left tackle and Broderick Jones at right tackle. If there is any injury or less-than-quality play, I see Troy Fautanu coming into the lineup at right tackle and pushing Jones over to the left side. If Fautanu shows to be the superior option, I hope the Steelers begin the season with him and Jones as the starting tackles. But if it’s even remotely close, I see the Steelers not putting Fautanu on the field the first several weeks of the season much like they did with Jones in 2023.

Although many Steelers fans are down on Dan Moore as an offensive tackle, his play is not as bad as what many believe it to be. Additionally, with the added competition, I fully expect Dan Moore to continue to improve going into a contract year. But with first-round draft picks in back-to-back years waiting in the wings, it’s only a matter of time before they are the Steelers book ends on the offensive line going forward. But to start the year, the two players on the field will likely come down to if Fautanu’s play on the right side eclipses that of Moore’s on the left side.


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