NFL Draft

Steelers Depot Draft Discussion I: Let’s Talk Two Steelers Scenarios

This is the first in a 10-part series that concludes on April 26, the day before the 2023 NFL Draft starts. Each day Depot staff members offer their spin a Steelers-related draft question. 

Today’s question: Which hypothetical scenario would you chose for the Steelers? Taking an offensive tackle and defensive lineman with their first two picks and drafting defensive backs (cornerback and safety or double-dipping at corner) in the third and fourth rounds or taking a cornerback with their first pick but with that the only selection the Steelers use to address the secondary.

Dave Bryan: I would like to see the Steelers go the first route of taking an offensive tackle and a defensive lineman with their first two picks and then double-dipping at the cornerback position in the third and fourth rounds with one of those two being slot capable. Additionally, my hope would be that the tackle drafted early would be left-side capable. This team only has three tackles under contract at the time I am answering this question with one of those being Le’Raven Clark.

Personally, I have a bias against first-round cornerbacks and especially when it comes to selections outside of the top 15; that usually means you are getting the perceived third- or fourth-best ones in the class. My answer to this question aside, I could see the Steelers taking a cornerback at 17 overall, with it being Joey Porter Jr. or Deonte Banks. This seems to be a deeper-than-normal class when it comes to cornerbacks.

Josh Carney: Games are won and lost in the trenches again in the NFL, so give me the scenario in which the Steelers address the trenches early and then add defensive backs later in the draft. Getting a player in the trenches the caliber of Tennessee’s Darnell Wright, Ohio State’s Dawand Jones or Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison on the offensive line and one of the Clemson’s Bryan Bresee, Michigan’s Mazi Smith or Florida’s Gervon Dexter on the defensive line with the first two picks would be quite the haul.

After that, you can address the secondary. Names like South Carolina’s Darius Rush, Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson and Kansas State’s Julius Brents could be available at No. 49 overall and would be great gets in the second round. Safety, wide receiver and even inside linebacker could then be on the board with the third rounder for the Black and Gold. Continue to build the trenches in front of Kenny Pickett and Najee Harris, figure out the rest later. It’s a winning formula in today’s game.

Jonathan Heitritter: Personally, I would prefer Pittsburgh to use its first pick on a CB, then allocate the rest of its draft resources to the trenches and to addressing the WR position. This CB class has several great options that will be available when Pittsburgh picks at #17, including Joey Porter Jr., Cam Smith, Deonte Banks, etc. After that, I would look to take the best OL/DL available at #32 (Bresee, Wright, Jones etc.), or EDGE with so many good options left on the board on Day Two. The third round would be my sweet spot at WR (Mingo, Reed, Mims, etc, and then you can target the best ILB/S/IDL available at #120.

Alex Kozora: Give me Door #1, the tackle/d-lineman follow by secondary. Build this thing up front. Invest in the trenches with high picks, something the Steelers haven’t done in a decade. Patrick Peterson can be a Band-Aid this year while the double-dip can address SS/CB or outside/slot corner as opposed to trying to pick one of those three areas that need attention. A deep CB class means someone could still be had at #49, like Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson. There isn’t that kind of depth at tackle or interior defensive line. Ball control and a good pass rush helps mask your secondary, anyway.

Matthew Marczi: This might sound a tinge blasphemous, but I’m not overly worried about addressing the defensive line in the 2023 draft. With that said, my preference for the first position addressed off the board is offensive tackle, so I have to take the first option. A stud cornerback would be great but so would a great left tackle.

And as Alex pointed out above me, there is a better chance of finding a starter-caliber cornerback a bit later on in the draft than there is an offensive tackle. As with the defensive line, I’m also less concerned with safety right now. Maybe I’m higher on Damontae Kazee than I should be, but I don’t see the big drop-off from Terrell Edmunds, and Keanu Neal can fill in for some work closer to the line.

Thank you for reading and please drop your answer to the question below.

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