When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted running back Najee Harris with their first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, they made it known that their goal is to go back to playing the type of Steeler football they have been accustomed to. That specific type of play consists of a balanced offense that is built off of a premier rushing attack. The past couple of seasons in Pittsburgh however, this team has had to rely on quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and our young receiving core. Selecting Harris ensures the pressure will be taken off those position groups and allow for defenses to game plan equally for both the rushing and passing attack.
I think it is safe to assume that Harris will go into the 2021 season as the team’s starting running back, he is clearly the most talented guy on this roster and has impressed throughout Rookie Minicamp. What remains to be seen is who exactly will be lining up in front of Harris and Roethlisberger on Sundays. Our offensive line, after being one of the best in the league just a few years ago, has struggled the past two seasons and is going to need to be one of the anchors for this offensive unit in order to find success.
After six-year starting LT Alejandro Villanueva left Pittsburgh to sign a free agent deal with the division rival Baltimore Ravens, there now is a whole on the left side of the offensive line, arguably one of the most important positions on the field, left tackle. This position protects the quarterback’s blindside, and with an aging Roethlisberger, keeping him upright and healthy is priority number one. This position is going to be one with a lot of eyes on it, the competition going into OTA’s is going to be wide open and one of the guys who is looking to take that spot over is rookie 4th round pick, Dan Moore Jr.
In a recent interview with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com, Moore Jr. talked about how excited he is to block for a talent such as Harris. “He’s an animal, he’s a beast. He’s very, very big”, Moore stated. “Having somebody like that who’s in our backfield, being versatile, who can also catch, having somebody like that is really, really big. …He can block, he can really do everything. It’s going to be a treat, honestly”. Although on opposite sides of the ball, Moore Jr. and Harris both played in the SEC, so if anybody knows just how dominant Harris will be, Moore Jr. is the one. Moore added, “First of all, I played against him, so I would definitely say I’d much rather have him on my team than him being on the opposing team”.
Moore Jr. ended the interview by sharing some details about the night Roethlisberger took some of the offensive rookies out to dinner, stating “Ben just gave us some insight on what it means to be a pro. Specifically a professional on this team. Obviously, people talk about the Steeler way and he gave us a little bit more insight on what that means”. Moore Jr. is doing everything he can to get acclimated with this city and this team, in hopes of finding his forever home in Pittsburgh.
Obviously, the future can never be told. Moore Jr. will seemingly be in a position battle all throughout camp with last year’s starting RT Chukwuma Okorafor who is making the switch to LT this off-season. Although Chuks may have a couple years experience on him, Moore Jr. believes that he has an advantage coming into the league that some don’t. Reason being, is that he came from Texas A&M University out of the SEC, one of the toughest divisions in all of college football. While there, you are competing against the best of the best, players who find themselves on NFL rosters within a few years. Competing against the best of the best at the college level on a weekly basis could very well give Moore Jr. some sort of an advantage when the competition begins.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:
Do you think Dan Moore Jr. can compete to be this year’s starting left tackle? Comment below!