Heading into the 2021 season there were question marks on the Steelers offensive line, who would the starters be, who would step up.
But one question was answered early on for one of the Steelers rookies.
Dan Moore Jr., one of the team's fourth-round draft picks, was given the heads up early on after the 2021 NFL Draft that he could be in the mix as a starting tackle.
"From the moment I was drafted, I was kind of prompted and told, 'Hey, this could be happening. Don't want to leave you out of the loop. Just be ready,'" said Moore of getting a heads up about his potential playing time early on. "I went in with the mindset that I could be starting day one. That was my notion going in."
And that is exactly how it played out. Moore started at left tackle in 16 of 17 regular season games in 2021, missing only the season finale against the Baltimore Ravens with an ankle injury he suffered a week earlier against the Cleveland Browns, but remained in the game and continued to play.
"How tough for him to continue to play on Monday night," said offensive coordinator Matt Canada of Moore the week after the game. "It was really impressive. He got rolled up on in a very bad way. It's what he's done all year. Ever since the conversation about the 17th game, there's a conversation about the length of the season, there's a conversation about how rookies hold up. The fact that he's played so hard and not ever blinked, not ever tried to go out is really impressive. I appreciate how hard he's played; how hard he's worked. He's got a huge upside."
Take a look at photographs of Steelers OT Dan Moore Jr. from the 2021 season
He returned to start in the AFC Wild Card Round game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was a long season for a rookie, the longest regular season ever in the NFL with 17 games, but one that he enjoyed and relished.
"It was definitely a lot of football, but I wouldn't say it was too much football," said Moore. "It was always a pleasure coming in the building being around the guys coming to work. It's always fun. It really was."
Through that fun, Moore said he learned a lot about himself, including that he can go up against the big guys in the NFL.
"I learned that I can maintain in this league," said Moore. "I can play through a full season. I learned that I can perform in this league and block really good defensive ends. In the long run that's going to help. Being thrown in the fire this year, it was something that I kind of prepared myself for.
"Now that I have that first year under my belt, just talking to a lot of the guys, a lot of the vets, hopefully that difference from the game slowing down from Year 1 to Year 2. I'm definitely looking forward to that. Now knowing what I have to work on from a technical standpoint this offseason, getting in the weight room. Definitely looking forward to that as well."