Steelers Address Number Of Holes In PFF’s Three-Round Mock Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft draws closer and closer as the calendar flips to April. That means that mock draft season is really, truly going to kick it up a notch.

That occurred Monday morning at Pro Football Focus as analyst Gordon McGuinness dropped a three-round mock draft for all 32 teams. With four picks in the first three rounds, including two in the second round, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to address a number of holes in the mock draft, landing starters with their first three picks in McGuinness’ mock.

Following an eventful free agency period (to date), it’s looking more and more like the Steelers will be able to take the best player available at No. 17 overall in the first round for GM Omar Khan, Assistant GM Andy Weidl and Head Coach Mike Tomlin.

That’s what happened in the latest three-round mock draft from Pro Football Focus Monday morning.

At No. 17 overall, McGuinness pairs the Steelers with Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks, a popular name in recent weeks that continues to be connected to the Steelers. Draft analysts such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks have paired Banks with the Steelers in recent weeks.

Following the selection of Banks at No. 17, McGuinness addressed the trenches for the Steelers in the second round in a big, big way. He added serious beef by drafting Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones at No. 32 and Baylor defensive tackle Siaki Ika at No. 49. That’s a combined 709 pounds added in the trenches in Jones (374 pounds) and Ika (335).

He rounded out the mock draft with the selection of Houston wide receiver Nathaniel “Tank” Dell at No. 80 overall in the third round.

“Despite adding Patrick Peterson in free agency, cornerback is both a short- and long-term need for the Steelers this offseason. Banks had an impressive showing at the NFL combine and is coming off a season where he allowed a catch on just 43.3% of the passes thrown into his coverage, the second-best mark among all draft-eligible Big Ten cornerbacks,” McGuinness writes regarding the Steelers in his three-round mock draft. “Looking to the trenches in Round 2, the Steelers add two of the biggest athletes in the class. Jones could hear his name called in the first round, so it would be a great value add at the top of Round 2.

“Ika is a slight reach, based on the PFF big board, but he was impressive as a pass-rusher from the nose tackle position in college, registering 59 total pressures from 656 pass-rushing snaps across his four seasons at LSU and Baylor.”

Banks is prototypical boundary CB, having the size and length (6001, 197 pounds, 31 3/8-inch arms) along with the thick build and physicality to jam receivers at the LOS and aid in run support. The Baltimore native only had two interceptions in college, but his athletic profile is extremely intriguing.

Along with prototypical size and length, Banks clocked a 4.35 40-yard dash at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, along with a 42-inch vertical and an 11’4″ broad jump. Insane numbers.

In college, Banks played in 30 games and finished with 83 tackles, 13 passes defensed and two interceptions. He added one blocked kick. The production doesn’t scream first-round talent, but the tape shows a guy that was rarely targeted in the passing game due to his ability to jam receivers and completely shut down one side of the field.

It is worth noting though that the Steelers did not have Khan or Tomlin at the Maryland Pro Day last week, and really weren’t heavily represented there. That means — at least based on history — that Banks is less likely to be the target at No. 17 overall.

As for Jones, he’s that hulking offensive tackle prospect in which the Steelers have shown interest in recent seasons. Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele (now with Baltimore) was a guy the Steelers liked quite a bit in 2022. Jones is that guy in 2023. He’s a guy I mocked to the Steelers at No. 17 overall in my most recent mock draft, though I think his range is anywhere from 17-32.

As for Ika, he’s a good projection for the Steelers, who have a need at nose tackle though that type of value at No. 49 overall might not be ideal.

Ika was a member of LSU’s national championship team in 2020 but transferred to Baylor after the season. At Baylor, Ika had a career year in 2021, with six tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks. He had 70 tackles in his collegiate career and 10.5 total sacks. At 6’4, 350 pounds, Ika would be a massive space eater at nose tackle and could be the ideal replacement for Tyson Alualu, who is expected to retire.

Dell is a name that’s been thrown around a bit regarding the Steelers. He would be a good fit in Matt Canada’s scheme as a slot receiver and backup X receiver behind Diontae Johnson due to his route running and abilities after the catch.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!