On Monday, Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report published a Way-Too-Early 2023 NFL Mock Draft, projecting the first round selections for all 32 picks. Ballentine slotted the Pittsburgh Steelers at #10 overall in this mock draft exercise, and has them projected to take Clemson DL Bryan Bresee.
“The Pittsburgh Steelers are a franchise synonymous with a dominant front seven. The sudden retirement of 29-year-old Stephon Tuitt paired with an aging Cameron Heyward leaves them with the need to make investments up front. T.J. Watt is an elite defender, but he’ll need a supporting cast to help him hunt quarterbacks in the long term. If Bryan Bresee falls all the way to them, the Steelers should rush his card up to the podium. The 6’5″, 300-pound defensive lineman has been a versatile weapon in Clemson’s defensive scheme. He’s lined up everywhere from head-up on the center to the inside shoulder of the tackle.”
Ballentine’s thought process is a sound one when it comes to suggesting Bresee as a potential fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers as both a talent and a position of need. As mentioned above, Tuitt’s retirement put Pittsburgh in a bit of a bind to replenish their DL depth and talent this offseason, likely prompting them to sign Larry Ogunjobi to help fill the hole that Tuitt leaves on the roster. However, given the fact that Ogunjobi, Chris Wormley, and Tyson Alualu are all scheduled to become free agents after the season, it would make sense for Pittsburgh to target a defensive lineman early in the 2023 NFL Draft.
When it comes to Bresee the football player, he meets a lot of the qualities Pittsburgh looks for in their defensive linemen. He boasts the length and frame for a prototypical DE in Pittsburgh’s defense and also has great pedigree, being the former No. 1 recruit in the 2020 recruiting class. Bresee was credited with 33 tackles (6.5 for loss), four sacks, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a safety in 432 snaps over 12 games (ten starts) as a true freshman, earning Freshman All-American honors.
Unfortunately, a shoulder injury held Bresee to just four games played as a sophomore last season, where he racked up 15 tackles (three for loss), 1.5 sacks and an interception over 154 snaps. Still, Bresee’s performance during that short timeframe still earned him Third-team All-ACC honors given his impact on the field.
Pittsburgh just drafted DL DeMarvin Leal in the third round this spring and Isaiahh Loudermilk in the fifth round in 2021, but neither bring the pedigree as well as the talent level infused with the frame that Bresee possesses. If Bresee can show that he is fully healed from his shoulder injury and continue to refine his skills as a pass rusher, he should look to cement his status near the top of the DL rankings for the 2023 NFL Draft. For a team like Pittsburgh who needs to continue fortifying both lines of scrimmage and inject some youth upfront, Bresee is a name to keep an eye out for this college football season.
What are your thoughts on DL Bryan Bresee? Do you think that Pittsburgh should look at taking a DL early in the 2023 NFL Draft? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!