Steelers Called on to Target 5-Time All-Pro to Push Dan Moore at LT - Sport News

Steelers Called on to Target 5-Time All-Pro to Push Dan Moore at LT

A lot of NFL mock draft experts have predicted the Pittsburgh Steelers to add an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft. But ESPN’s Bill Barnwell argued the Steelers could consider another avenue for a left tackle upgrade — sign veteran David Bakhtiari to compete with incumbent Dan Moore Jr.

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On March 20, Barnwell called the Steelers the best free agency fit for Bakhtiari.

“In terms of starting left tackle opportunities, the Steelers seem like the obvious fit,” Barnwell wrote. “Broderick Jones, a first-rounder in 2023, might not yet be seasoned enough to move to the left side, and while Dan Moore has improved at left tackle, the Steelers could stand to give him some competition.

“Russell Wilson and Justin Fields are going to need all the help they can get, and taking a shot on a potential franchise left tackle on a one-year deal with incentives is the sort of swing Pittsburgh should take given what it’s saving on spending at quarterback.”

Bakhtiari has started 131 games in his NFL career. He has made one of the All-Pro teams five times, each year from 2016-20. Bakhtiari has also earned three Pro Bowl nominations during his career.

In 2018 and 2020, he was first-team All-Pro for the Green Bay Packers, where he has spent his entire career.

How David Bakhtiari Could Fit With the Steelers

The Steelers could upgrade left tackle one of two ways this offseason. Barnwell proposed the team pursuing the free agent route where they added a veteran left tackle.

Like Moore, Bakhtiari began his NFL career as a fourth-round pick. But by his fourth season, Bakhtiari was a Pro Bowler and member of second-team All-Pro.

The Steelers just added Russell Wilson and Justin Fields at quarterback. Both signal callers have taken at least 99 sacks combined in the last two seasons. So, protection will be paramount for Pittsburgh regardless of who starts behind center.

Moore may not be up to the task to block for Wilson or Fields. The Pro Football Focus player grades ranked Moore 50th out of 56 offensive tackles who played at least 50% of his team’s offensive snaps in 2023.

Adding a tackle with multiple All-Pro seasons on his resume to at least compete with Moore is a great idea for the Steelers.

However, Bakhtiari would come to Pittsburgh with reliability issues. Including the playoffs, he has missed 41 games over the past three seasons.

But among all offensive tackles, Bakhtiari finished with the 13th-best PFF player grade in 11 games played during 2022. On a 1-year affordable deal, Bakhtiari is worth the risk for a team in need of a left tackle upgrade.

Will Broderick Jones Flip to Left Tackle?

Whether the Steelers are willing to roll the dice on Bakhtiari could depend on their 2024 plans with Broderick Jones.

Although Jones started the final half of 2023 at right tackle, general manager Omar Khan has made it clear that Jones will eventually move to left tackle.

“[Jones] proved that he could play right tackle. But he was drafted to be a left tackle and eventually he will be a left tackle,” Khan told reporters on February 29. “When that is, you know, time will tell, but he was drafted to be a left tackle.”

Will it be before the 2024 season?

If it isn’t, a free agent such as Bakhtiari will be in play for the Steelers should they not draft another tackle in the first round. But if the Steelers consider Jones the front runner at left tackle this fall, then the team’s search will switch to finding a new right tackle.

Head coach Mike Tomlin explained to reporters in early November that Jones was starting at right tackle because he was much better at right tackle than Moore.

Therefore, it’s safe to assume Moore is not likely an option for the Steelers at right tackle.

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