Steelers trade for Georgia’s Broderick Jones in NFL draft


For the first time since 1996, the Pittsburgh Steelers used their first-round pick in the NFL draft to select an offensive tackle.

The Steelers traded three spots for 14th, picking Georgia’s Broderick Jones. He is the first tackle selected in the opening round since the Steelers’ Jamain Stephens.

With valuable cornerbacks Christian Gonzalez and Joey Porter Jr. still on the board, the Steelers traded to acquire a tackle to protect the blind side of sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett.

The New York Jets, who held the No. 15 after trading Aaron Rodgers, were reportedly interested in acquiring Jones. However, the Steelers struck the blow to them.

“I wasn’t expecting anything,” Jones said on a conference call. “I’ve been waiting for my name to be called. The Steelers did what they could to get me. I’m happy with what happened.”

The Steelers can only hope this first-round tackle works better than it did in 1996, when they picked #29 Stephens. He was washed out after two years and 11 starts with the Steelers.

“Broderick was a player that we identified as a great addition to our team,” said general manager Omar Khan. “Once we saw how the design was going, we started making phone calls to trade it in and get it. We’re really excited. I think he’s going to be a great Steeler for a long time.”

The Steelers gave New England the original No. 17 pick and the No. 120 overall pick, a fourth-round pick, to earn the 6-foot-5, 311-pound sophomore redshirt. As it stands, the Steelers have no picks in the fourth, fifth, or sixth round.

“We weren’t willing to pawn anything more than a Day Three pick,” said coach Mike Tomlin.

As a rookie, Jones is expected to compete with two-year-old starter Dan Moore Jr. in left tackle. He has limited experience of tackling properly in games but said he was rotating between positions every day in training in Georgia.

At Georgia, Jones started 19 games – and just one full season – for the two-time national champions. He played in two games as a freshman reserve and then started at left tackles in the Bulldogs’ last four games in 2021.

He became an elite prospect in 2022 when he started all 15 games in left tackle.

“He’s got a lot of time on his head,” Tomlin said. “I also say that he is a really good player at the moment.”

Jones’ draft profile on compares him to the New York Giants’ Andrew Thomas, who is #4 overall in the 2020 draft and has 44 career starts.

On April 15, he made an official top 30 draft visit to the Steelers.

“I felt right at home,” Jones said. “It felt like I was at UGA. It felt like the energy was there. Everything that was talked about was needed. … At the end of the day, I was in love with the Steelers when I left, and I became one.”

Most draft analysts expected the Steelers to address offensive tackle, defensive end, or cornerback with their first pick. It was about which players — and from what positions — would be available when it was the Steelers’ turn to use the No. 17 pick overall.

After the quarterbacks hit with three of the first four picks, the first cornerback was picked when the Seattle Seahawks took Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon. The Arizona Cardinals made a trade – their second of the round – with the Detroit Lions and snagged the Ohio State tackle on Paris Johnson Jr.

First defensive end went to No. 7 to the Las Vegas Raiders, Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson. The run of potential Steelers targets was cut short when Atlanta brought back Bijan Robinson from Texas. Philadelphia moved up a spot in a trade with Chicago and picked up the most controversial prospect, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

The second tackle off the board was Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, who went to the Bears in 10th place. Next up was Northwestern guard/tackle Peter Skoronski, who went to Tennessee.

That left Jones as the top tackle prospect. Also available at cornerback were Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Penn State’s Porter.

Edge rusher Lukas Van Ness from Iowa went to Green Bay in 13th place. At this point, the Steelers pulled the trigger and jumped ahead of the New York Jets to get Jones.

“You make a call and you get a sense of what people want,” Khan said. “Some people are no, some maybe. They stay close to the phone and stay in touch with clubs that may be interested.”

Joe Rutter is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact Joe via email at or via Twitter .

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