It’s not a turkey but the Pittsburgh Steelers are adding some meat to their defensive line in CBS’ latest mock draft. With the projected 4th overall pick, author Josh Edwards mocks Pittsburgh Georgia DL Jalen Carter, arguably the top defensive lineman in this year’s draft. Explaining the pick, Edwards writes:
“Quality interior defensive linemen are both high in demand and low in supply. Pittsburgh may have bigger needs, but it can not bypass a talent like Carter if it sticks and picks. It could be a destination for a team trading up to select C.J. Stroud. The Steelers should absolutely evaluate all quarterbacks and compare them to what they have in Kenny Pickett before making a decision.”
Carter would be another in a long line of former Bulldog linemen to be top draft picks. Last year, Travon Walker became the draft’s first overall selection while NT Jordan Davis commanded plenty of first round buzz and landed in the middle of Day One. But draftniks argued Carter was better than either of those guys and those projections have come true.
So far this year, Carter has logged 22 tackles (3.5 TFL) and two sacks with two forced fumbles. Numbers that may not jump off the page but Carter demands double-teams and makes plays that don’t always show up on the stat sheet. And when he does make tackles, it happens in a violent way, rag-dolling blockers like few can.
Pittsburgh’s defensive line could look far different next season. Larry Ogunjobi, Chris Wormley, and Tyson Alualu are all set to be free agents. Alualu is almost certain to retire while Ogunjobi won’t be cheap to retain. Cam Heyward will also be another year older and the Steelers would be smart to add some youth up front.
Assistant GM Andy Weidl is coming over from a Philadelphia Eagles’ organization that invested heavily in the trenches in recent years, including with their top two picks in 2022, and he figures to have a similar mentality with the Steelers. From a talent standpoint, Carter certainly makes sense. And if Pittsburgh has a top five pick, they could have their pick of any top non-QB. Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and others could push players like Carter down a few slots to the Steelers’ benefit. Young is the #1 projected player in Edwards’ draft with three quarterbacks going in the top five.