2023 NFL Draft

Mock Draft Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 Mock Draft: March 6 (Post-Combine)

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.


Analysis: While the Steelers may have greater positions of need going into the draft, they likely will shore up several of these spots in free agency, allowing them to take the best overall player on their board. While QB Kenny Pickett has taken strides down the stretch of his rookie season as a passer, the passing game still leaves a lot to be desired as they ranked 24th in the league in passing yards and dead-last in the league in passing TDs on the season.

Like the Bengals did drafting Ja’Marr Chase to give Joe Burrow a reliable weapon he already has some chemistry with, the Steelers do the same thing in this scenario, selecting WR Jordan Addison who won the Biletnikoff last season playing with Pickett at Pitt. Addison and Pickett have a proven chemistry with one another, and both have spoken about the possibility of teaming up with Addison telling Pittsburgh to come get him at the Combine to make a reunion a reality. Pittsburgh’s passing game must improve from last season and giving Pickett potentially the best route runner in the draft to pair with Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Pat Freiermuth should help Pickett make that Year Two leap.


Analysis: Clemson DL Bryan Bresee has been mocked to the Steelers in the first round for obvious reasons this offseason as the team desperately needs to add youth and talent to the defensive line. Bresee is a former top recruit and matches plenty of the qualities Pittsburgh looks for at the position, making him a logical fit. Mike Tomlin has shown interest in Bresee ever since he stepped foot on campus as Bresee called his formal meeting with Tomlin “like catching up with an old friend.”

Still, Bresee is a tough evaluation and has many teams split on him due to his lengthy injury history and the lack of production in college. He is still notably raw, needing time to develop to become the impactful DL in the league he has the potential to be. Luckily for Pittsburgh, Bresee slides to #32 in this scenario, selecting a guy they would consider at #17 as he works with DL Coach Karl Dunbar and Cam Heyward to maximize his physical gifts.


Analysis: In a loaded EDGE class, Derick Hall often gets put somewhere in the middle of the top names at the position, However, don’t for a second let that make you think he isn’t a talented player in his own right. The 6’3, 256lb senior is a sack machine for the Tigers, having racked up nine sacks last season and 6.5  in 2022.

Hall is the perfect fit for a 3-4 OLB, having the size, length, strength, and explosiveness to give opposing OTs fits. He got the better of current Giants OT Evan Neal last season, showcasing impressive speed to power in his rush along with the ability to win with speed and turn the corner. He can be a more consistent run defender, but Hall’s skill set is tantalizing when watching film as Pittsburgh can bring him in like when they drafted Alex Highsmith in the third round and have him develop and provide the defense with a capable third pass rusher. His size, play style, and demeanor make him a perfect fit in Pittsburgh as the Steelers use back-to-back picks to strengthen the defensive front.


Analysis: The Steelers will likely add to their CB room this offseason with Cam Sutton and James Pierre’s future up in the air as free agents while William Jackson III and Ahkello Witherspoon projected to be cap casualties. One option that Pittsburgh can target later in the draft that could contribute quickly is South Carolina CB Darius Rush who impressed at the Senior Bowl, recording the fastest-tracked GPS time of the week and backed that up by running a 4.36 40-yard dash at 6’2, 198lb.

Rush is a high character man who has stood out in interviews for me at both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, having the hearts and smarts you desire in a Pittsburgh Steelers. He has extensive starting experience in the SEC, having 15 PBUs and three INTs the last two seasons. Rush has the frame and body type Pittsburgh looks for on the outside and can come in right away as a special teamer while working into the DB rotation in the nickel and dime defense.


Analysis: The Steelers interview plenty of interior offensive linemen at the Combine, especially at the center position. There is a distinct possibility that they may draft a center and move him to guard or take Mason Cole and kick him to LG if the draft a center to play that position as a rookie. One player that they conducted a formal interview with is Arkansas C Ricky Stromberg who has good size (6’3, 306lb) as well as ample starting experience, having started 44 games. Stromberg started his career at guard, but later moved to center, showing that position versatility that Pittsburgh desires on the interior. He can come in and be the primary backup at all three IOL spots and eventually push a starter for their job.


Analysis: Pittsburgh double-dips at the defensive line, selecting Cameron Young of Mississippi State who they met with at the NFL Combine. Young compliments the selection of Bresee earlier as fit at NT for the Steelers, standing 6’3, 315lb and has experience lining head-up on the center as well as in the A-gap. His sack production is minimal during his time in college, but Young does generate pressure on the pocket while providing a capable run defender that can develop in his first season in Pittsburgh as he works to get snaps in their base 3-4 package down the road.


Analysis: Pittsburgh doubles down on backup OL in the seventh by selecting John Ojukwu out of Boise State, addressing depth behind Dan Moore Jr. and Chuks Okorafor at OT. Joe Clark spoke to Ojukwu at the Combine, as he had an informal with the Steelers. He also mentioned that Steelers scout Mark Bruener was talking a lot about Ojukwu at the Shrine Bowl, suggesting that the interest is there. He has the size (6’6, 309lb) and starting experience, starting 51 career games for the Broncos. Ojukwu is a strong run blocker that needs some seasoning in pass protection to really round out his game. He can come in and compete to be the swing tackle early in his career, being battle-tested during his time in college while also having the skill set to kick inside to guard.


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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