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Okorafor Needs To Compete For Starting Left Tackle

The Steelers removed the "or" tag from rookie Broderick Jones yesterday, making him the official starter at right tackle, a position formerly held by veteran Chukwuma Okorafor.

Given the circumstances that led to Okorafor losing his starting spot, he is unlikely to unseat Jones on the right side anytime soon. However, there is no noticeable depth on the left side behind Dan Moore Jr., who has been underwhelming this season. Okorafor's likely return to left tackle could be a viable option.

Okorafor was one of college football's most distinguished left tackles before entering the NFL in 2018. Okoafor started 12 games at left tackle for the Western Michigan Broncos in 2017. He was named an All-American and was a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy for his efforts that year.

Okorafor was expected to be the starting left tackle before the 2021 season, but that plan was derailed when former lineman Zach Banner suffered post-knee surgery complications. Two years later, Okorafor is now the highest-paid backup on the roster.

For much of the season, Moore Jr. has struggled in almost every facet of the position. In their Week 11 loss to the Cleveland Browns, he allowed two sacks, four pressures, and one quarterback hit against All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett in the Browns' loss last Sunday. His pass-blocking grade of 18.8 was the lowest of any qualifying lineman.

For Okorafor, who has been serviceable this season, a return to left tackle and competing against Moore Jr. could present an opportunity to become a starter again.

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