Steelers Predicted to Trade for Former Jets 1st-Round Pick

Mekhi Becton New York Jets

Mike Stobe/Getty Images Mekhi Becton (center) of the New York Jets.

Conventional wisdom says that the Pittsburgh Steelers need to upgrade their talent at both offensive tackle spots. That helps explain Bleacher Report’s prediction that New York Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton will soon have a new NFL home, with Alex Kay calling Becton an “ideal buy-low candidate to improve Pittsburgh’s offensive line.”

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Mekhi Becton Was a 1st-Round Pick in 2020

Becton — who is listed at 6-foot-7 and 363 pounds — was selected No. 11 overall out of Louisville in the 2020 draft. He started 13 games as a rookie and looked like a long-term answer for the Jets, earning a 74.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

But he appeared in just one game in 2021 after injuring his knee in New York’s season opener, following a spring and summer in which he “dealt with plantar fasciitis issues” and a concussion. Moreover, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reported , “Becton showed up to (New York’s 2022) minicamp overweight, which frustrated staffers,” one of a handful of reasons Hughes labeled George Fant as the front-runner to win New York’s left tackle job over Becton.

That said, Hughes wrote on July 6 that he doesn’t believe the Jets are ready to give up on Becton. Kay, however, wrote on July 12 that he believes it could happen and that his Pro Bowl potential warrants the Steelers giving up second- and fourth-round picks in 2023 to make a deal happen.

In that scenario, Becton would replace Dan Moore Jr. as Pittsburgh’s starting left tackle (57.8 PFF grade in 2021) giving the offensive line the first-round pedigree it currently lacks.

To be sure, Becton isn’t the only highly drafted tackle who has been seen as a good fit for the supposedly tackle-needy Steelers. Former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher is another name that has been suggested on more than a few occasions.

Ben Roethlisberger Called Dan Moore Jr. the ‘Left Tackle of the Future’ for the Steelers

What Kay didn’t acknowledge in his story is that the Steelers really like Moore. Recently retired quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said as much during a January radio interview on the WDVE morning show: “He’s got heart, he’s got passion, he’s smart and he’s very, very good. He’s going to be the left tackle of the future for this football team, and he’s going to be very good at it.”

Former Steelers left guard Ramon Foster — who co-hosts a sports talk radio show in Nashville — also said he was impressed with what he’s seen from Moore, a fourth-round pick in 2021.

The longtime Steelers lineman recently devoted a segment to talking about Dan Moore on the July 8 episode of “The Ramon Foster Steelers Show” podcast.

“The fact that [the coaches] felt confident with a rookie at left tackle” speaks volumes, Foster said, having noted that the Texas A&M product started 16 games last year at age 22.

“I’m excited for him,” Foster said. “He’s able to get in space, which gives him highlights. He finishes well. His technique has been good, too, and his knowledge of the game will continue to evolve the more and more he plays.”

It doesn’t hurt that Moore comes at a bargain cost, at least for the next few years. According to, he’s slated to earn a salary of $825,000 in 2022 and will count less than a million dollars against the team’s cap. Meanwhile, Becton’s salary will be $2.3 million.

It seems clear that the organization would sooner look for a replacement on the right side, where former third-rounder Chukwuma Okorafor has been the starter for the past two seasons. The Steelers signed Okorafor to a new three-year contract worth $29.25 million in March 2022, but the $9.25 million signing bonus is modest enough that the team could move on from Okorafor after this season or next if a better option emerges.

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As for the more immediate future, it would not be a surprise if the Steelers added an offensive tackle before the start of the regular season, especially if there are injuries at the position. After all, the team doesn’t have much experienced depth, making the May 2022 signing of former Panthers and Chargers tackle Trent Scott a potentially significant addition.

After Scott, the Steelers have position-flexible guys like Joe Haeg, John Leglue and Chaz Green, plus former undrafted free agent Nate Gilliam. Last but not least, the 90-man roster includes two rookie undrafted free agents in Jordan Tucker (North Carolina) and Jake Dixon (Duquesne).

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