2023 NFL Draft

New ESPN ‘Second Round’ Mock Draft Has Steelers Taking High End Defensive Talent

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a big splash on Day One of the NFL Draft, trading up to pick 14 to grab Georgia tackle Broderick Jones. There is still more work to do for general manager Omar Khan and head coach Mike Tomlin as Day Two of the draft gets underway tonight. With picks 32 and 49 in the second round there has been a lot of speculation on what the team will do.

One of those speculating is ESPN, and today Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. did a second round mock draft for ESPN+ where he has the Steelers snagging a first round talent and one of the top linebackers. At 32, Muench has the Steelers taking Joey Porter Jr. the Penn State cornerback many of whom expected to go to the Steelers in the first round.

“Pittsburgh addresses a need here and gets the 23rd-ranked player on our board, adding the son of former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter Sr.”

The connection between Porter Jr. and his father, former Super Bowl winning outside linebacker for Pittsburgh has been talked about a lot. With Porter Jr. falling out of the first round, the Steelers could get a first round talent in the second round.

Getting Porter Jr. would be great as it fills a need in an outside cornerback, something the Steelers badly need. The ability for him to learn under Patrick Peterson would be great as Pittsburgh looks to counter the play of the elite AFC quarterbacks with a great defense.

Muench continues to build up the Steelers in his second round mock draft with him having them select Clemson’s athletic linebacker Trenton Simpson at pick 49.

“The Steelers have signed Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts in free agency but have lost Myles Jack, Devin Bush and Robert Spillane. Pittsburgh adds depth to the position here.”

Although the Steelers completely revamped their inside linebacker room this offseason, it is still lacking in depth and a linebacker who excels at coverage. Simpson can provide both as another body in the room, and his athletic profile should lead to him being a good cover linebacker.

Steelers Depot’s own Jonathan Heitritter did a draft profile on Simpson earlier this offseason and said one of the good things about Simpson is that he can cover space well in zone and stick with someone in man coverage. With the Steelers already having thumpers on defense such as Elandon Roberts and Mark Robinson, an athletic linebacker who can be a plus in the pass coverage game would be huge.

If the Steelers do follow Muench’s mock draft I would certainly be happy. It attacks needs and gets very good players. Both Porter Jr. and Simpson would make the Steelers a better football team and I would expect both of them to see at least a decent amount of playing time in year one. Although the Steelers are just now re-opening their window of contention, grabbing quality players and developing them are important. With the draft pick of Jones last night and possibly Porter Jr. and Simpson tonight, they would be following a formula that often leads to a ton of success.

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