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The Steelers offensive line construction, Part Two: The rebuild begins

Yesterday I began a series looking at how the Steelers have redone their offensive line over the last five seasons. In part one, I looked at how the 2020 season ended a specific era of the Steelers offensive line which saw 2021 have no season starters on the offensive line who started in Week 1 of 2020. Today, it’s time to look at the start of the rebuild which began in 2022.

It’s odd to talk about the beginning of the turnaround in a year where the Steelers did not select an offensive lineman In the draft. Instead, the Steelers added two upgrades on the offensive line in free agency. Adding James Daniels at right guard and Mason Cole at center started the move in the right direction. The offensive line for 2022 was as follows:

LT Dan Moore 
LG Kevin Dotson 
C Mason Cole 
RG James Daniels 
RT Chukwuma Okorafor

Unlike the previous two years, all five players started every game for the season. Technically Trenton Scott also got a start as a jumbo tackle in one game. Additionally, Jesse Davis and J.C. Hassenauer appeared in games even if it was only on special teams. The starting center the previous season, Kendrick Green, was inactive for every game the entire season.

So why was 2022 the beginning of the turnaround? Although Mason Cole was an upgrade at center, he only lasted two seasons with the Steelers before he was also deemed upgradable. But in 2022, the addition of James Daniels, who was the Steelers best player on the offensive line that season, began to raise the standard of play for the unit.

If the Steelers were merely content with their 2022 offensive line, there would have been no rebuild to even discuss a beginning for. But with new general manager Omar Khan and assistant general manager Andy Weidl taking over after the 2022 draft, the unit was just getting started where it required a higher standard of play.

But the transition could not occur overnight.

Instead, the Steelers finally addressed the offensive line high in Khan’s very first draft as the Steelers traded up a few spots to land offensive tackle Broderick Jones. But this was not the first step in the rebuild in 2023. The Steelers added guard Nick Herbig in free agency who was believed to push Kevin Dotson for the other starting position at guard opposite of James Daniels. But that was not the end. The Steelers later added Isaac Seumalo who not only took over the starting left guard position but became the anchor and leader of the offensive line.

When all was said and done, the Steelers starting offensive line for 2023 was as follows:

LT Dan Moore 
LG Isaac Seumalo 
C Mason Cole 
RG James Daniels 
RT Broderick Jones

Both Seumalo and Cole started every game and Dan Moore missed one contest early in which Broderick Jones filled in. Jones took over the right tackle spot for Chucks Okorafor and gave a big boost to the running game the final 10 weeks of the season. As for James Daniels, he missed two games due to injury where Nate Herbig filled in as the starter. The only other offensive lineman to see the field was 2023 seventh-round draft pick Spencer Anderson who was utilized on special teams.

In all, the Steelers added two starters and two reserve linemen in 2023 through free agency and the draft. But the Steelers upgrade on the offensive line is still ongoing. Make sure to check back tomorrow as the building of this unit continues to go onward and upward.



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