AFC Notes: Broderick Jones, Browns, Ravens, Steelers



Teams usually don’t expect much out of sixth-round picks in their rookie year — in fact if you get a player who is a good backup and special teamer for four years out of that pick, it’s considered a win. So it’s notable that Ravens sixth-round G Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu has put himself firmly in the conversation to start at left guard, even if he still has to beat veteran G John Simpson.

“He’s done well,” Ravens HC John Harbaugh said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “I haven’t seen any step back, nothing to make you think he’s been slowed down, or nothing to disappoint. He still continues to make steady progress. I’ll also say, John Simpson, you know, same thing. He’s had a great camp, and next week, we’ll flip it. He will go with the ones and ‘Sala’ will go with the twos. We’ll look at both guys with both groups of guys. So, that’s how we set it up.”

Aumavae-Laulu still has a long way to go as an NFL player and has his share of losses against Baltimore’s defensive line, but the Ravens are encouraged by what they’ve seen so far. 

“He’s got a tremendous work ethic,” Ravens OL coach Joe D’Alessandris said. “(He’s) really receptive to learning and takes the information, applies it. It’s been a pleasant surprise so far. The first two days in pads, and (Wednesday), he’s making nice progress. He’s a work in progress, and we’ll see how he continues to grow.”

Former third-round G Ben Cleveland, who many expected to be the frontrunner to start at left guard, doesn’t really seem to be a factor in the starting competition at this point. 

“Ben just needs to continue to grow and get more consistent, and he’s working at that,” D’Alessandris said. “We’ll see how that plays out.”


When the Pittsburgh Steelers kick off their season in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, the Athletic’s Mark Kaboly expects the starting left tackle to be veteran Dan Moore, not highly-touted first-rounder Broderick Jones. Some of that is because Jones looks like a rookie who’s still adjusting to the transition to the NFL. But Moore has also done nothing to lose the starting job yet as he’s developed from his own lumps as a former fourth-round pick. He’s started 33 games at left tackle over his first two seasons and looks like he’ll keep adding to that total in 2023. 

“People don’t realize how hard of a position this is,” Moore said. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It is not all physical. It is mental. You are going to get beat. It is also a game of confidence. If you get beat, can you keep your confidence or are you losing it? There is a mental aspect — not to mention, you are going against the best.”

Still, there’s a reason the Steelers traded up for Jones in the first round. Moore knows he has to keep improving to keep his job and has a clear picture of which areas of his game need work. 

“Lower the QB hits — I know I lowered the pressures for the year before,” Moore said. “I definitely want to lower some of those hits on the quarterback, for sure, and just improve my overall game. Offensive line is a game of repetition. You build confidence when you get reps. The game is really slowing down for me. Late last year I caught a rhythm after the bye week, and things started rolling after that. I just want to pick up where I left off last year.”

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