Steelers Urged to Sign Former No. 1 Overall Pick

Eric Fisher

Andy Lyons/Getty Images Eric Fisher of the Indianapolis Colts during a game against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 18, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t select any offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft, having taken care to address that aspect of the team in free agency. But if there’s a position that could still use an infusion of talent and/or depth, it’s offensive tackle. That the line of thinking embraced by Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus (PFF), who says it would “make sense” for the Steelers to sign former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher, 31, who remains available as an unrestricted free agent.

“After a shaky start to his NFL career, Fisher has settled in as a middle-of-the-road starter at left tackle,” begins Linsey. Steelers fans are likely to view that as a lukewarm endorsement, until you consider the team’s projected starters on both the left and right side.

Eric Fisher v. Dan Moore Jr. v. Chukwuma Okorafor

“(Fisher has) earned PFF grades of at least 68.0 in each of the last seven years — over 10 points higher than the 57.5 PFF grade that rookie Dan Moore Jr. earned for the Steelers in 2021,” notes Linsey. “Fisher could compete with Moore for the starting job next season while improving the depth at a position that looks thin if either Moore or Chukwuma Okorafor (63.6 PFF grade in 2021) is lost to injury.”

Of course, Fisher’s recent injury history makes him something of a question mark in his own right. The Rochester, Mich. native spent eight years as a starting tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs, who selected him No. 1 overall in 2013 out of Central Michigan. He went on to start at least 13 games every year between 2013-18, but missed eight games in 2019 after suffering a groin injury in practice in September of that year — an injury that required “core muscle surgery.”

He went on to start 15 games the following season and earned Pro Bowl honors for the second time in his career, only to tear his Achilles in Kansas City’s AFC Championship Game win over the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs released him in March 2021 and he went on to sign a one-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts worth $8.38 million, according to Spotrac.

It’s difficult to imagine the Steelers spending anywhere near that kind of money on Fisher, but one can certainly argue that the team needs more at offensive tackle.

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Steelers Offensive Line Outlook

After all, the Steelers focused on improving the interior of the offensive line in free agency, signing former Bears second-round pick James Daniels to a three-year contract in mid-March. The Steelers also inked former Cardinals and Vikings center Mason Cole to a three-year deal.

Meanwhile, the Steelers brought back starting right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor on a surprisingly lucrative three-year contract worth $29.25 million. At the moment, Joe Haeg and Chaz Green — the latter back on a one-year Reserve/Futures contract — look to be the best depth options at tackle.

Earlier this week, the Steelers also signed a pair of rookie undrafted free agent offensive tackles, namely Jordan Tucker out of North Carolina and Jake Dixon of Duquesne. Tucker — 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds — is the more intriguing of the two, having started all 13 games for the Tar Heels last season.

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