Earlier this week, Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports put out his two-round mock draft, and today his co-worker Chris Trapasso released his new two-round mock. While the mock is abound with trades, he has the Steelers staying put. After selecting Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez at No. 17, Trapasso has the Steelers selecting LSU wide receiver Kayshon Boutte at No. 32 and Northwestern EDGE Ade Adebawore at No. 49.
Gonzalez has been a popular name mocked to Pittsburgh after starring at Oregon this season. A transfer from Colorado, Gonzalez finished with 50 tackles, four interceptions, and seven passes defensed. The redshirt sophomore stands 6’2, 200 pounds, and features elite athleticism. He had seven career interceptions in his college career, and he landed on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List before the season as he hit 23.3 mph running while also showcasing a 42-inch vertical jump and power cleaned 325 pounds. His older sisters Melissa and Samantha were All-American sprinters, and Melissa was an Olympian, as she competed in the 400m hurdlers at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. She’s also married to NFL quarterback David Blough.
Gonzalez would fill a major need for the Steelers, as Pittsburgh is in need of cornerback help regardless of whether or not they’re able to re-sign impending free agent Cameron Sutton. If the team can’t bring Sutton back though, a cornerback in the first round becomes even more of a possibility, and someone like Gonzalez who has the measurables and the splash plays on tape is a very intriguing option. For more on Gonzalez, check out Tom Mead’s draft profile on the former Oregon corner.
Boutte was widely projected to be a first-round pick before the 2022 season, but he didn’t have his strongest year under new LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly. Boutte finished his 11-game junior campaign with 48 receptions for 538 yards and just two touchdowns after pulling in nine touchdowns and 509 yards in just six games the season before. Kelly also called him out before the season for not attending workouts, and it just seemed as if the receiver never meshed with the new coaching staff. He originally decided to stay for his senior season, but had a change of heart around a month later and decided to enter the draft.
While receiver is going to be a need for the Steelers, I’m not sure Boutte is the guy they target, and I’m not sure they address the position at No. 32. In this mock, five receivers went off the board in the first round, and while I do expect the Steelers to address receiver in the draft, I’m not sure they’re going to settle with whoever is left with the first pick of the second round. If former Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba or former Boston College receiver Zay Flowers was around at No. 32, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers considered a selection. I just don’t think Boutte is the direction the team will go.
At No. 49, the Steelers again add to their defense, taking an EDGE in Adebawore. Adebawore doesn’t have supreme sack production-12.5 sacks in his college career, with 9.5 coming in the last two seasons, but he’s forced two fumbles in each of his last two seasons and has 24.5 tackles for a loss. He’s flexible in what he can do, and is a little bit similar to current Steelers DL/EDGE DeMarvin Leal in what he can offer defensively. He was also a member of Feldman’s Freaks List before the season. Ultimately though, I think the Steelers might lean more towards a true EDGE rusher or someone who can stick primarily on the defensive line instead of another tweener, Leal-type of player if they can. Both Baylor’s Siaki Ika and Kansas State’s Felix Anoduke-Uzomah were available at No. 49 in this mock, and I think either player would be more of a fit in Pittsburgh given what they currently have defensively.
Still, it’s always good to see new names mocked to Pittsburgh, and the Steelers would do a good job of addressing some of their needs if this mock was to come to fruition, although I’m not sure if the players selected would really be great fits. The rest of this mock was a little bit whacky, as the Indianapolis Colts traded for the first overall pick to select Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, while Ohio State C.J. Stroud went 8th overall to the New York Giants, and Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon went to Detroit at sixth overall. It also predicted some quarterback movement via free agency/trades and had Lamar Jackson heading to the Washington Commanders and Aaron Rodgers joining the New York Jets
There’s still a lot of time until the draft, and I’m excited to see how everything ends up playing out in the weeks and months ahead.