The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been shy about using draft picks to keep local talent in Pittsburgh in recent years.
In 2021, they selected Pat Freiermuth in the second round after a successful career at Penn State.
The following year, they decided Pitt’s Kenny Pickett was their future at QB.
In the most recent draft, they added another Nittany Lion with their selection of Joey Porter Jr.
Now there’s another local player hoping the team will bring him in.
According to Steelers Now’s Nick Farabaugh, Pitt offensive tackle Matt Goncalves said that he wants to continue playing in front of football fans in Pittsburgh.
“It would mean everything,” Goncalves said. “To play for the Steel City again, the way I ended it off this year, it just didn’t end off the way I wanted it to. The pride, passion, the love I have for the Steel City, I hope it doesn’t go unnoticed because I really do love that city. It would mean the absolute world if I could go win games at Acrisrue Stadium once again.”
A Lineman With a Lot of Potential
Hopes were high for Goncalves heading into the 2023 season.
In 2022, Goncalves didn’t allow a single sack in 12 games during his second season as a starter for Pitt.That performance led to him earning All-ACC Third Team honors.
Even bigger things were expected in 2023 as he was named to the preseason All-ACC First Team.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to live up to those expectations as turf toe ended his final season for the Panthers after just three games.
The injury cost him the opportunity to try and boost his draft stock, but he should still get the attention of scouts before draft day.
He has plenty of size a 6’6″ and 330 pounds. He also has long arms, which scouts look for in tackles.
There may not be much recent tape on him right now, but there is certainly a case that the Steelers should keep him in Pittsburgh when they get the chance in April.
A Struggling Offensive Line
The Steelers didn’t allow many sacks in 2023. The 36 they allowed was a top ten number in the league.
However, that didn’t tell the whole story for the O-Line.
They allowed the 11th-highest pressure percentage in the league. They also struggled at time to create running room for Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.
The team’s issues up front were apparent in the loss to Buffalo.
They only allowed one sack, but Mason Rudolph was hit six times.
Harris and Warren also combined to average just 3.75 yards per carry in the game.
The team had the linemen with the two worst grades in the league during the Wild Card round.
The team is expected to draft at least one lineman in April and could possibly try to get two with needs at tackle and center.
Drafting Goncalves would allow Broderick Jones to move back to left tackle, potentially improving them at two positions.
If the Steelers don’t take a tackle in the first round, Goncalves will absolutely be worth a look later on.
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