Sitting at 1-3 and having seemingly very little hope — at the moment — for being able to turn around a rather frustrating season to date, some attention for the Pittsburgh Steelers could be shifting to the 2023 NFL Draft cycle.
That’s probably a bit painful and frustrating to read for some, but more and more the NFL Draft cycle never stops. With the Steelers sitting a 1-3 and doom and gloom closing in, even with the Kenny Pickett Era set to start.
While it’s highly unlikely the Steelers completely collapse and end up picking inside the top 10 this season, especially with the way the schedule is shaping up after the Week 9 bye week, currently the Steelers are slotted in at No. 6 overall in the latest mock draft from Pro Football Focus, putting them in great position to land a game changing player, regardless of position.
The last time the Steelers picked anywhere near as high as No. 6 overall was No. 7 overall in 1989 when they selected running back Tim Worley. Then, in 2000, the Steelers picked wide receiver Plaxico Burress at No. 8 overall. Of course, the Steelers also picked No. 10 overall in 2019 after trading up for Devin Bush.
There was also the selection of wide receiver Frank Lewis at No. 8 overall in 1971.
Picking at No. 6 overall though would be the highest the Steelers have picked dating back to 1970 when Pittsburgh drafted quarterback Terry Bradshaw at No. 1 overall.
In the latest PFF mock draft, writer Michael Renner has the Steelers selecting Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee, a player the Steelers saw up close and personal earlier this year in their Pro Day tour, and one that is considered one of the best interior pass rushers in the nation.
“Bresee is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound physical freak built to play on the Steelers’ defensive line,” Renner writes regarding the selection of Bresee at No. 6 overall to the Steelers in his mock draft. “He has 11 pressures in three games this season, and the arrow only continues to point up for the former No. 1 overall recruit. Put him next to Cameron Heyward and watch quarterbacks crumble.”
It’s no secret the Steelers defensive line is getting up there in age.
Cameron Heyward will be 34 years old next season and is already a bit banged up early in the season right now. He’s shown no real signs of slowing down though, so he likely has a few good seasons left.
Pittsburgh signed Larry Ogunjobi in the summer to a one-year prove-it deal, and there’s a chance he could be re-signed before free agency to continue plugging a major hole along the Steelers defensive line. Veteran Tyson Alualu is likely to retire, especially after losing his starting role early in the season, and veteran Chris Wormley is on an expiring contract, though he could return as well.
Young players in Montravius Adams and rookie DeMarvin Leal have played well in the season, and Isaiahh Loudermilk has some promise, but the Steelers desperately need that game-wrecking type of play in the trenches moving forward. That’s where Bresee could be huge for the Steelers, especially near the top of the draft.
In his career at Clemson, Bresee has recorded 44 tackles in 19 career games, missing much of the 2021 season due to injuries. Along with the 44 career tackles, Bresee has recorded 11.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one interception, while earning third team All-ACC honors in 2021 and first team All-ACC and ACC Rookie of the Year in 2020.
Bresee turns just 21 years old on Oct. 6 and would be a massive injection of youth to the Steelers defensive line, were he to be the selection.