2023 NFL Draft

Mock Draft Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 Mock Draft: March 20

The 2023 NFL Draft is roughly five weeks away, and the Steelers are slotted to pick 17th overall in the first round. They also own the top pick in the second round thanks to the Chase Claypool trade with the Chicago Bears.

With Pro Days underway, we continue to go through mock draft scenarios and project player/prospect fits who may interest the Steelers given their current needs and the talent in this draft class.


Analysis: If Joey Porter Jr. is on the board at No. 17, there is a good chance that Pittsburgh makes him the pick. The team has created a great environment to develop a CB1, signing a vet like Patrick Peterson and having DB coach Grady Brown to help develop a top prospect. Porter Jr. has all the ties to Pittsburgh you could dream of, being the son of former Steelers Pro Bowler and coach Joey Porter, who served on Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff from 2014 to 2018. Tomlin and Porter were close off the field, having sons who played at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic. Porter Sr. is now an assistant coach in the XFL.

Besides the “Blue’s Clues” that easily link Porter to Pittsburgh, Porter is regarded as one of the best cover corners in the class after breaking up 11 passes in 2022. He is a willing tackler in run support though he only had one career INT, suggesting his ball skills may not be the best. However, Porter has the size (6’2, 198lb), length, and play demeanor that Tomlin and the Steelers look for and will likely be one of the favorites to be the team’s first selection next month.


Analysis: Pittsburgh completely overhauled the ILB room the last week, seeing Robert Spillane, Myles Jack, and Devin Bush walk out the door while bringing in Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts to take over the starting jobs. While both guys are serviceable, Pittsburgh would be wise to invest in a homegrown solution at the position, like they did at CB in Round 1, on a solid run stuffer who can be the captain at the second level of the defense.

The Steelers opt to bring in a guy nicknamed “Captain Jack” on Day Two, selecting Iowa’s Jack Campbell. Campbell makes plays all over the field as a downhill run stuffer that can fight off blocks as well as a capable zone coverage defender. He isn’t the most dynamic athlete in terms of burst or twitch, but the 6’5, 243lb senior has the size, tenacity, and instincts you want in an off-ball linebacker who can play in the middle of an NFL defense for years to come. He is an experienced starter that would provide steadiness and reliability to the LB core that Pittsburgh desperately needs.


Analysis: The Steelers brought back DL Larry Ogunjobi to play alongside Cam Heyward in Pittsburgh’s sub packages, but they need to find a quality nose tackle to shore up their run defense. The Steelers reportedly spent a lot of time with Michigan DL Mazi Smith during his Pro Day last week, and the sense from some analysts is that they are more interested in him than Clemson DL Bryan Bresee.

Smith, a stout run defender in the middle of the defense, stands 6’3, 323lb and possesses impressive play strength at the point of attack. He moves extremely well for a player his size with his quickness off the ball and hand usage. Still, his lack of production in college in the sack department and questions on snap counts at the next level will likely depress his draft stock. He goes in the middle of Day Two, giving Pittsburgh a plug-and-play NT to pair with Heyward and Ogunjobi who functions as a strong run stuffer with pass rush upside.


Analysis: The Steelers brought back S Damontae Kazee last week, but Terrell Edmunds remains unsigned. Given their slew of recent signings, it’s safe to say that Edmunds may be playing elsewhere in 2023 if he receives any offer above the minimum, meaning Pittsburgh should be looking for his replacement in the draft.

The Steelers find it in the third round, nabbing Alabama S Jordan Battle, who was floated as a high Day Two pick prior to the start of the 2022 season. He is an experienced, instinctive defender who brings the boom as a hitter as well as operates as a versatile defender, being able to align all over a defense.  Still, Battle needs to be a more consistent tackler and can be quicker to diagnose coverage, giving him a lower floor but generally  ahigh ceiling. Battle can slot in at the strong safety and provide little to no drop off from Edmunds, giving Pittsburgh a safety trio of Battle, Kazee, and Minkah Fitzpatrick to move around and use in different spots.


Analysis: The Steelers have done a great job overhauling the interior of the OL, bringing in two starting-caliber OGs to improve the starting lineup as well as overall depth. However, they do need to bolster depth at OT to give themselves a viable swing guy who can develop and potentially compete with LT Dan Moore Jr. Tyler Steen, after transferring from Vanderbilt, and had a good season with the Crimson Tide, earning second-team All-SEC honors. He started 46 games in his college career, splitting time at both tackle spots. Steen also played at guard during the Senior Bowl and represented himself well there during the week.

Standing 6054, 325lb with 33” arms, Steen fits the mold of what Pittsburgh is looking for in the middle rounds. Should Steen show promise in his development early on, perhaps he could challenge Moore Jr. at LT, but at worst will give the team a viable swing tackle option in case of injury.


Analysis: Zach Gentry remains unsigned, and instead of overpaying for minimal production and performance at the position, Pittsburgh elects to grab his replacement in the seventh round. Brenton Strange fits the bill as a late-round dart throw at the position as he is a capable blocker that gets after it in the run game while providing more receiving upside than Gentry. Strange is also good buddies with Pat Freiermuth from their time together at Penn State and mentioned a good conversation he had with TE Coach Alfredo Roberts at the Combine. He could come in and compete to be TE2 behind Freiermuth, allowing Connor Heyward to continue to operate in his hybrid, Swiss Army Knife role.


Analysis: Pittsburgh has seen the influence and impact from assistant GM Andy Weidl during his short time with the team, putting an emphasis on beefing up the OL while scheduling some of the top OL and DL prospects for top-30 visits. They follow a similar trend from his Eagles days with their last pick, selecting a developmental edge rusher in Robert Beal Jr. from Georgia. Beal may not be highly touted compared to some of his teammates, but his measurables (6’4, 246lb, 34 5/8” arms, 4.48 40) make him quite the developmental prospect. He wound up leading the national champions with 6.5 sacks and two PBUs in 15 games last season and could compete for a roster spot to backup Watt and Highsmith.

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