Steelers Projected to Target ‘Girthy’ Bulldozer Lineman

The NFL’s attention has shifted toward free agency, but teams will have another the opportunity to fill their needs in the NFL draft. Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline expects the Pittsburgh Steelers to address their offensive line in the first round with Alabama’s JC Latham.

Steelers JC Latham

In his newest NFL mock draft, Pauline predicted the Steelers to target Latham at No. 20 overall.

“Kool-Aid McKinstry will receive consideration here, but not enough is known about his injury,” Pauline wrote. “Latham is a better fit than [Amarius] Mims as a powerful right tackle, which allows them to move Broderick Jones, last year’s first-round pick, to the left side.”

Amarius Mims has been a popular choice to the Steelers at No. 20 or even as a trade up possibility. But clearly, Pauline prefers Latham for his power.

Standing at 6-foot-6 and 342 pounds, there’s no denying that Latham has power.

“Bulldozer in human form with the upper- and lower-body power to forcibly evaluate run lanes and instantly upgrade a team’s ground attack,”’s Lance Zierlein wrote. “Latham’s body type is girthy, and he has elite drive-blocking talent.

“Latham’s size, strength and talent give him a chance to become a heralded right tackle or Pro Bowl-caliber guard.”

Zierlein compared Latham to 2019 No. 35 overall pick offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor. In five seasons, Taylor has started 83 contests.

How Alabama’s JC Latham Could Fit With the Steelers

The Steelers have a new need at safety since releasing veteran Keanu Neal. Pittsburgh also parting ways with Patrick Peterson on March 8, which made cornerback an even greater need.

But assuming the Steelers find a secondary starter and additional depth in free agency, the overwhelming expectation is general manager Omar Khan will add another significant offensive line building block early in the 2024 NFL draft.

The draft big boards at ESPN, Pro Football Focus and Bleacher Report all consider Latham a top 25 prospect and top 6 offensive tackle in the 2024 draft class. Bleacher Report’s latest big board has Latham ranked at No. 13 overall and third among offensive tackles.

“He needs added patience to counterbalance his attacking play style, but he has the tools, skill set and runway to start in year one with Pro Bowl potential within his first contract,” wrote BR’s Brandon Thorn.

Just as Pauline did, who had Mims going 22nd overall to the Philadelphia Eagles, PFF and BR had Latham ranked ahead of Mims. However, ESPN has Mims ranked No. 18 overall with Latham at No. 25.

As Pauline argued, adding Latham will allow the Steelers to flip Broderick Jones back to left tackle. At the NFL combine, Khan told reporters that will eventually occur anyway.

Steelers incumbent left tackle Dan Moore Jr. is entering the final year of his contract in 2024.

Could the Steelers Target a Different Offensive Lineman at No. 20?

The most popular position group slotted to the Steelers in the first round has been offensive line. But if the Steelers go that route, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a tackle.

The Steelers released veteran center Mason Cole this offseason. That leaves a giant hole in the middle of the team’s offensive line.

Pittsburgh could address that need at No. 20 overall.

“From what I’m told, the surprise pick at this slot could end up Jackson Powers-Johnson,” wrote Pauline.

It won’t be a surprise to all draft experts. On February 27, The Athletic projected the Steelers to target Powers-Johnson at No. 20 overall.’s Luke Easterling also predicted the Steelers to draft Powers-Johnson in the first round of a mock draft in January.

Assuming a lineman is the team’s first-round choice, it will be interesting to see which lineman the Steelers prefer. The best case scenario for Pittsburgh will be having Latham, Mims and Powers-Johnson all available at No. 20 overall.

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