Ed Note: Apologies that I had an incorrect mock here. Updating this with the correct information.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. unveiled his final 2023 NFL mock draft bright and early Thursday morning, hours before the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off.
For his final selection to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has the team selecting Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes. In explaining the pick, he writes:
“Forbes, one of my favorite prospects in this class, is a ball hawk — he had 14 picks over three college seasons, including six pick-sixes. As I wrote before, Steelers fans might be hoping for Joey Porter Jr., whose dad is a Pittsburgh legend, but I have Forbes rated a little bit higher. Pittsburgh has three picks in the top 49, and it needs to come out of Round 2 with starters at offensive tackle and cornerback.”
It’s a departure from his previous mock where he gave the team Boston College WR Zay Flowers, something of a curious decision. Cornerback is a need but Forbes’ name hasn’t been mentioned much in connection with Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have shown interest in the top corners of this year’s class. Forbes is physical with ball skills but weight is a concern. 166 pounds at the Combine, 170 pounds at his Pro Day. Pittsburgh certainly needs the cornerback help and it feels a given they will take one sooner than later, within their first two picks.
Elsewhere, Bryce Young goes #1 overall to the Carolina Panthers while the Tennessee Titans trade up for Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud at #3. Devon Witherspoon is the first CB off the board at #6 followed by Christian Gonzalez at #7. OT Paris Johnson goes #9 to Chicago while Green Bay takes Darnell Wright at #13. Broderick Jones falls past the Steelers and goes 19th overall to Tampa Bay.
The NFL Draft kicks off tonight at 8 PM/EST with Round One. Friday will showcase Rounds Two and Three while Saturday will hold the rest of the draft and the chaotic undrafted free agent process.