NFL Draft

Steelers Take Wide Receiver At Top Of CBS’ Three-Round Mock Draft

Quarterback might be the biggest long-term need the Pittsburgh Steelers have. But wide receiver and safety are their most immediate. In Ryan Wilson’s latest three-round mock draft for CBS, he has the Steelers foregoing the quarterback position and focusing on the here and now, adding a receiver and safety with the team’s top two picks

At #20, he has the team selecting Arkansas WR Treylon Burks. Explaining the pick, Wilson writes:

“Burks is a contested and high-point catch machine. Don’t be fooled by his 4.55 40 at the combine — he regularly outran defensive backs to the end zone in the SEC and that won’t change in the NFL. The scariest part of his game is that he’s not even close to his ceiling yet, and what better way to get there than in Green Bay. He reminds us of some combination of Anquan Boldin, JuJu Smith-Schuster and AJ Brown. The Steelers just lost Smith-Schuster and James Washington in free agency and they’ll need to add some WRs in the draft. Burks isn’t a bad place to start.”

It’s worth noting Wilson makes a reference to “Green Bay” in his write-up, so it sounds like some old text got mixed in with his new Steelers’ writeup. Or maybe Aaron Rodgers came to Pittsburgh and hasn’t told anyone.

Editing aside, Burks was one of the SEC’s biggest playmakers and for the early portion of the pre-draft process, thought to be the first receiver off the board. As a junior in 2021, he averaged over 16 yards per grab on 66 receptions, finding the end zone 11 times, highlighted by a 179-yard, two-score performance in a near upset over Alabama. Burks’ stock has cooled in a competitive wide receiver class and after posting only relatively average testing numbers across the board.

In our player profile back in January, Devin Jackson summed Burks up this way:

“Burks projects as an immediate starter and return specialist who will absolutely need designed schemes and play calls to get the ball in his hands quickly as he continues to navigate nuance in his route running and enhancing his creativity on an island with defensive backs and safeties.”

Burks is a big body who can get involved in the team’s run game. That’s something Matt Canada may be interested in considering all the jet motion he likes to run. Pittsburgh had interest in Jaguars’ WR Laviska Shenault in 2020, and Burks compares favorably to him. So perhaps interest is there, though the absence of Mike Tomlin and/or Kevin Colbert at Burks’ workouts hurt those odds.

In Round 2, Wilson has the Steelers grabbing Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker. A popular second-round pick that’s appeared in several Steelers Depot mock drafts, Brisker is a good-looking safety who battled a shoulder injury in 2021, impacting his tackling. Still, he’s a good athlete with sticky man coverage. Pittsburgh sent Brian Flores and Grady Brown to his Nittany Lions’ Pro Day workout.

Finally, Wilson mocks Pittsburgh USC EDGE Drake Jackson to round out Day 2. Thickly built at 6025, 254 pounds and long 34-inch arms, Jackson displayed explosiveness at the Combine, jumping 36.5 inches in the vert and 10’7″ in the broad. In ten games this past year, Jackson notched five sacks, but he failed to ever enjoy a true breakout season. He did leave school a year early, so his play still has room to grow.

Surprisingly, Wilson slots NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu #1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars over a pass rusher. Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson stays local, taken #2 by the Detroit Lions, with Malik Willis the first QB off the board at #9. Pitt’s Kenny Pickett suffers a major draft-day fall, dropping all the way to #32.

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