2023 NFL Draft

Mock Draft Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 Mock Draft: February 6

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is officially in the books with the team finishing with an 9-8 record but failing to make the playoffs. With the season now in the rearview mirror, many will turn their attention toward the offseason and more specifically the 2023 NFL Draft. Now that Pittsburgh has officially been eliminated from playoff contention, they are slotted to pick 17th overall in the first round and own the top pick in the second round thanks to the Chase Claypool trade with the Chicago Bears.

While we still have the all-star games, NFL Combine, and Pro Day upcoming prior to the draft this spring, it’s never too early to go through mock draft scenarios and project player/prospect fits who the Steelers may be interested in given their current needs on the roster and the talent in this upcoming draft class. Today, I will be projecting a trade by the Steelers in attempt to accumulate more picks to address more needs on the roster.


Analysis: GM Omar Khan bucks the old trend of Pittsburgh refusing to trade back in the draft, having only doe it four times during Kevin Colbert’s entire tenure with the franchise, and trades back with their first pick, sending #17 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers for #22 overall and their third-round pick (#87 overall). To move back five spots, Pittsburgh needs another Day Two pick, having four picks on the second day of the 2023 Draft and five picks in the top 100 to address several needs on the roster with promising prospects.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could stand to improve the left side of the OL with both LT Dan Moore Jr. and LG Kevin Dotson experiencing frustrating inconsistencies the last two seasons. Both are young players with potential, but to protect QB Kenny Pickett and continue to improve the running game, an upgrade is needed at either spot, and assistant GM Andy Weidl has a history of beefing up the trenches dating back to his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. Northwestern OL Peter Skoronski lacks ideal length and size but is one of the most technically sound offensive linemen in this draft class, mirroring pass rushers with ease while playing with great base and effort as a run blocker.

The Steelers capitalize on Skoronski’s “deficiencies” regarding his measurables and trade back to nab one of the better OL in this class. While Skoronski may be listed as a tackle, many scouts and teams in the league are viewing him as a potential guard at the next level that can kick inside and provide a team a quality player there for the next decade. He could come in an immediately push Dotson out of the LG spot as a rookie, or challenge Moore for the LT job if his arm length proves to be not as big of an issue in training camp. Regardless, Peter Skoronski should be a name Pittsburgh sees as an answer when looking for a potential solution to either LT or LG with the capability to play both positions at the next level.


Analysis: The Steelers need to attempt to add a prototypical CB1 this offseason, regardless of if they ae able to retain CB Cam Sutton. While Sutton is a solid corner, he lacks ideal measurables and athleticism to cover opposing team’s WR1s on a weekly basis. Levi Wallace is a good #2, but isn’t they guy you want to try and have lock up Ja’Marr Chase or Amari Copper twice a year.

Enter Emmanuel Forbes who has been one of the most productive players in college football since stepping on campus. Forbes picked off five passes as a freshman and has six so far in 2022. With 14 career INTs and 20 PBUs in three seasons, Forbes is as good as a ball hawk as you are going to get, having the length and instincts to cover the opposition’s best receiver with a knack of producing turnovers, having six pick sixes to his name in three seasons. Throw in the fact that he is a willing and aggressive tackle with good height and length, he could be exactly what Pittsburgh is looking for to add to their secondary.


Analysis: The Steelers desperately need to add starting-caliber talent to this ILB core with Robert Spillane and Devin bush heading to free agency and to spark a position that has been lacking in the splash play department for some time now. Drew Sanders would be a great selection in the second round as a guy that experience playing both on the edge and in the box, giving Pittsburgh a moveable chess piece at LB. Sanders had a productive season in 2022, posting 103 total tackles (40 solo), 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, five PBUs, and an INT. Sanders is a quality pass rusher and has great range as a run-and-chase defender. Sanders is still raw playing one year off-ball, but his ceiling is immense.


Analysis: The Steelers need to add depth and starters to their defensive line with the number of upcoming free agents they figure to have this offseason. Keeanu Benton could meet both those designations as he has improved every season in Madison and his put himself on the map as one of the better interior defensive linemen in this draft class. He possesses impressive play strength to shed blocks and push the pocket. He is a menace in the run game and brings a pass rush to the table as well, having four sacks this season. Benton had a great week at the Senior Bowl and admitted that Tomlin and the Steelers had him on their radar, squarely locking him in as a potential Day Two selection.


Analysis: The Steelers picked up an extra third-round pick from the Chargers earlier in the draft and use it to address the depth at the OLB position. This team needs a capable pass rusher to rotate in with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith throughout the game while also needing a suitable backup should Watt or Highsmith go down. Having tried to make do with UDFAs or cheap free agents the last couple of seasons, they select Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV.

Will McDonald IV is an intriguing prospect, having great length (35” arms) and notable bend around the edge. He has 34 career sacks to his name in college, along with 40.5 TFLs and ten forced fumbles, having the skill set to get after the QB. However, McDonald is a lankier prospect, lacking ideal weight for his frame (6’3 1/2, 241lb). Still, McDonald showcased improved strength at the point of attack during the Senior Bowl and came in heavier than his college playing weight, suggesting he can still grow into his frame more at the next level. He can contribute immediately on special teams and as a rotational pass rusher as he continues to develop his body and become a well-rounded edge defender.


Analysis: The Steelers need to add splash to their WR core in the form of big plays down the field as well as YAC machines that can catch a screen or simple crosser over the middle and turn on the jets to produce big plays in the passing game. They have a knack for hitting on mid-round receivers over the last decade and do the same here in 2023, selecting WR Jayden Reed out of Michigan State.

Reed is one of Tyler Wise’s draft crushes this year, and that should mean something given Wise’s track record hitting on WR prospects. Reed was a four-year contributor for the Spartans, catching 203 passes for 2866 receiving yards and 26 receiving touchdowns in 43 career games. Reed was uncoverable at the Senior Bowl, showing off nuance as a route runner as he generated separation with ease against DBs tasked with covering him. He won vertically and over the middle of the field, making him a legit deep threat and can win vertical as well as create after the catch.

Reed’s impressive quickness makes him a viable punt returner, having three career punt return touchdowns to his name. Reed can play in the slot or on the outside, making him a valuable weapon on offense and special teams to pair with Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Calvin Austin III.


Analysis: The Steelers may have drafted a WR the pick before with Reed, but that shouldn’t deter them from taking another weapon for Kenny Pickett should the value present itself. The managed to address OL, DL, LB, and CB already in this draft, and Nathaniel “Tank” Dell out of Houston being available late on Day Three could be a value they can’t say no to. Dell has been accumulating stats for the Cougars the last two seasons, topping 1,300 yards last season and has followed that up with 109 receptions for 1,398 yards and 17 scores in 2022. A WR core of Johnson, Pickens, Reed, Austin, and Dell would have the youth, varied skill sets, and potential to grow with Pickett for the next several years.

Dell is electric with the ball in his hands, having the elusiveness to make defenders miss in open space as well as the speed and acceleration to generate plenty of YAC after the catch. Dell is undersized by NFL standards (5’10, 165lb), which will likely affect his draft stock, but for a team needing more explosive plays in the passing game and a player that can create with the ball in their hands, Dell brings that skill set as a receiver as well as a dynamic returner to the table. He would be a great Day Three selection for Pittsburgh who needs to add more YAC ability to the WR core while also addressing the KR/PR spot with a legit threat that is electric in open space.


Analysis: The Steelers close out the draft by addressing depth behind Dan Moore Jr. and Chuks Okorafor at OT by selecting OT #76 Connor Galvin out of Baylor. The 6’7, 302lb senior has been starting on the Bears’ OL since 2018 and has the height and length you desire at the position. He could stand to add more mass/strength to his frame, but Galvin has shown that he can get after it in the run game, having the mobility and athleticism to get out in space. Statically one of the best pass protectors in college football and the 2021 Big XII OL of the Year, Galvin should find a home in the league as a quality backup or potential starter.

What are your thoughts on the names listed above in this mock draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers? Does this present a realistic scenario that the team may take toward the 2023 NFL Draft? What did I get right? Where did I mess up? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section and thanks again for reading!

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