PFF’s ‘Perfect Draft’ Scenario For Steelers Includes Double-Dip At Key Position

In just two weeks all of the speculation, debates and fun exercises regarding the 2023 NFL Draft will be done with.

For now though, that speculation, debates and fun exercises will continue as things really ramp up toward the start of the draft in Kansas City April 27.

On Friday, Pro Football Focus did a fun little exercise, putting together the “perfect” draft scenario through three rounds for all non-playoff teams in the AFC, which unfortunately included the Steelers. Surprisingly in the “perfect” draft for Pittsburgh, it involved a double-dip at one position of need, which just so happened to be at the cornerback position.

In the “perfect” draft scenario through three rounds, the Steelers landed Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks at No. 17 overall, then added Oklahoma left tackle Anton Harrison at No. 32 overall and Miami (Fl.) cornerback Tyrique Stevenson at No. 49 overall in the second round, before then rounding out the exercise with Stanford wide receiver Michael Wilson at No. 80 overall.

“Picking 17th overall, the Steelers ideally want to land one of the top cornerbacks available — be that Banks, Porter or Christian Gonzalez. Banks is coming off a season where he allowed a catch on just 43.3% of the passes thrown into his coverage,” PFF’s Gordon McGuinness writes regarding the perfect draft scenario for the Steelers. “With three picks on the second day of the draft, landing one of the best remaining tackles while double-dipping at cornerback and adding another wide receiver would be one of the best-case scenarios.”

Make no mistake about it: Banks is absolutely in the same discussion as Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. and Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez as a first-round cornerback, not to mention names like Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon and South Carolina’s Cam Smith.

He’s a true shutdown cornerback and would fit in Pittsburgh very well as that physical, chippy cornerback. Same with Stevenson, whom Ike Taylor called a “dawg” on Friday and said he will go higher than expected. NFL Insider Aaron Wilson also reported recently that Stevenson is viewed as a “viable” first-round pick for the Steelers, which would be a bit of a surprise.

Getting him in the second round and pairing him with Banks, Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace moving forward in Pittsburgh would be a great way to rebuild a position group that has more questions than answers entering the 2023 season.

Outside of those two selections, getting the likes of Harrison and Wilson on the offensive side of the football would address two major needs for Pittsburgh offensively. Harrison profiles as a franchise left tackle, one that is much better in pass protection than as a run blocker. As for Wilson, he had a terrific Senior Bowl and is starting to generate serious buzz the closer the calendar gets to the NFL Draft.

It certainly might not be the “perfect” draft through three rounds for the Steelers, but it’s definitely an intriguing one with the double-dip at cornerback, adding two high-end pieces at that position in the draft.

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