Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Broderick Jones is already proving teammates wrong.
The Pittsburgh Steelers selected DT Broderick Jones from Georgia with the 14th pick in April’s NFL Draft. Most objective viewers would watch that happen and think well, yeah, duh — of course Broderick Jones will start at left tackle for the young, rebuilding Steelers next season.
Not Steelers left guard Kevin Dotson, who appeared on the Three Point Stance Podcast and gave a very honest, if misguided opinion on Jones’ upcoming rookie season. He instead vouched for veteran lineman Dan Moore Jr., who has 34 starts in two seasons with Pittsburgh.
Jones, however, is already exceeding the expectations of at least one teammate, it would seem.
Broderick Jones getting first team reps at left tackle for Pittsburgh Steelers
To almost nobody’s surprise, Jones is getting first-team reps at left tackle for the Steelers.
Fresh off two straight national titles at UGA, Jones was one of the most highly regarded prospects at his position in years. He will now be tasked with protecting Kenny Pickett in the pocket as Pittsburgh embraces a new era following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement.
Dan Moore, meanwhile, is taking reps at right tackle. A notable change in position, but not the demotion one might’ve feared when Jones’ name was called on draft night.
As for Kevin Dotson… he is actually facing a demotion. Free agent Isaac Seumalo is expected to take snaps from Dotson at left guard. A cruel twist of the ironic knife.
Of course, Dotson was never actually criticizing Jones or making grand proclamations. Offhanded comments on podcasts can easily be taken out of context and it’s better to view his sentiments as confidence in Moore, not as being explicitly jealous of Jones.
But, by that same token, it can be hard for veteran players to accept an influx of young talent, especially when teams like Pittsburgh are prioritizing player development over winning games. Dotson started all 17 games for Pittsburgh last season. Now, if healthy, one has to expect Jones will start all 17 games for the Steelers in 2023.
To rub salt in the wound, Seumalo — on the verge of replacing Dotson — spoke very glowingly of his new teammate Broderick Jones. From Steeler Nation:
“Broderick has got all of the tools and athleticism in the world. But obviously, offensive line is one of those things that takes time and experience. There are very rare guys that can come in and play right away. I think Broderick possesses those tools. Being able to know when to use each tool is the hard part of offensive line. He’s definitely an aggressive guy. He’s got all the tools. I’m excited to see him grow.”
The Steelers should expect big things from Jones. He succeeded at the highest level of college football. Now, he’s ready to tackle the pros.