2023 NFL Draft

CBS Sends Aggressive Cover Corner To Steelers In Latest Mock Draft

While the Pittsburgh Steelers need to fortify the trenches this offseason, an underrated need that they should look to address involves finding a playmaker in the secondary to become the leader of the CB room. CB Cam Sutton had a breakout 2022 campaign for the Black and Gold, but he is slated to become a free agent this spring. While Pittsburgh may prioritize signing Sutton to a new contract, they still lack that prototypical CB1 that has the length, speed, and ball skills to matchup up with alpha wide receivers on a weekly basis and generate splash plays.

CBS’ Chris Trapasso addressed that need for Pittsburgh in his latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft, sending South Carolina CB Cam Smith to Pittsburgh with the 17th overall selection in the first round.

“Smith’s tenacity as an outside press corner fits what the Steelers want out of their defensive backs,” Trapasso said on Cam Smith.

Cam Smith is ranked as CBS’ 26th-best prospect and the fourth-best CB in this year’s draft class. Trapasso mocked Smith to the Steelers in his previous rendition of his first-round mock, and after you plug in the tape on Smith, there is no denying that the cover man for the Gamecocks matches what Pittsburgh has looked for in the past at the position. Smith stands at 6’0, 188lb, having the height and length you want on the outside. While fairly lean, Smith is aggressive both in coverage as well as a tackler, willing to stick his face in the fan and make tackles as well as contest receivers down the field to break up passes.

This aggressive, physical play style matches what the Steelers generally look for in defensive backs that are capable tacklers that can be feisty in coverage. Smith comes into the draft process as a redshirt junior that posted 27 tackles, one TFL, five PBUs, and an INT in 2022. He allowed a passer rating of 71.3 when targeted this past year which was a far cry from his best performance as a collegiate back in 2021 when he allowed a passer rating of only 36.5 when targeted. On top of that, Smith had 41 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, a forced fumble, 11 PBUs, and three INTs in 11 games in 2021.

While the offensive or defensive lines may be seen as a more pressing need, the team does need a true #1 CB, regardless if Sutton is brought back or not. That easily could be Cam Smith who figures to be a name you need to watch in the pre-draft process as a logical fit to Pittsburgh.

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