Steelers Fail To Address Cornerback In Chad Reuter’s Four-Round Mock Draft

Earlier today, The Athletic’s Nick Baumgardner released a three-round mock draft that had the Pittsburgh Steelers going defense with three of their top four picks.’s Chad Reuter seems to agree that the team is going to make defense a priority, as he has the Steelers grabbing three defenders in the first four rounds of the draft to go along with a wide receiver and an offensive tackle. In his four-round mock, Reuter has the Steelers selecting Clemson LB Trenton Simpson in the first round before taking Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison at No. 32 overall, Georgia Tech DL Keion White at No. 49 overall, Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims at No. 80 overall and Oregon EDGE D.J. Johnson at No. 120 overall.

Pre-free agency, it wouldn’t have been a huge surprise to see Simpson mocked to Pittsburgh. But with the team adding Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts to play off-ball linebacker, Simpson hasn’t been linked to Pittsburgh all that often. But he’s a guy who can play all over the place and had dinner with the Steelers before his Pro Day. He was a productive player at Clemson, with 165 career tackles, 23 of which were for a loss, and 13 sacks. Holcomb and Roberts, while solid players, aren’t necessarily top-of-the-line options. If the Steelers view Simpson as a guy who could start immediately and develop into an elite linebacker, it’s reasonable to expect that he could be the pick at No. 32. It would be a little bit surprising, though, if he was the selection at No. 17 if the draft fell the way it did in this mock, as Georgia OT Broderick Jones was still on the board as well as Maryland CB Deonte Banks.

After passing on Jones in the first round, Reuter thinks the team will address offensive tackle with its opening pick in the second round with the selection of Harrison, who visited Pittsburgh earlier this week. A former top-200 recruit, Harrison’s hand usage is among the best in the class and he’s a guy who could probably serve as the team’s swing tackle for a year before stepping into a starting role in 2024. He’s a talented player who was good in pass protection at Oklahoma (just four sacks allowed in three years), but I think a year of development would probably serve him well. With the Steelers seemingly comfortable with Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor at the tackle spots, drafting a developmental tackle who isn’t too far away from being starter-quality could be the route Pittsburgh takes.

White was another pre-draft visitor, as he spent his Thursday in Pittsburgh. His athleticism would be an asset along Pittsburgh’s defensive line, and he would be good value at No. 49. He had a lot of first-round buzz heading into the Combine. While he didn’t run the 40 in Indianapolis, he showed off some of his athleticism with a 9’9” broad jump and 34” vertical while also putting up 30 reps on the bench press. In the context of the mock draft, the only issue I have with the pick is that the team opted not to address cornerback with guys like Miami (FL) CB Tyrique Stevenson, Kansas State CB Julius Brents, and Mississippi State CB Emmanuel Forbes all on the board.

Mims at No. 80 would be the typical Day 2 wide receiver pick for the Steelers, who would get themselves a slot receiver with a lot of production for the Sooners. Mims had 54 catches for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns last season and would add a speed and vertical element to Pittsburgh’s offense. At 5’11, 183 pounds he offers a little bit more size than Calvin Austin III while also running a 4.38 40-yard dash. With Austin still a little bit of an unknown quantity, getting someone like Mims who’s a weapon with the ball in his hands and could move around a little bit in addition to playing inside would be a good pick.

Finally, at No. 120, Reuter has the Steelers taking Johnson, who also played tight end at Oregon. Playing as a full-time EDGE in 2022, he had six sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss. Pittsburgh needs EDGE depth behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. If they draft White with the idea of playing him on the line instead of as a pure EDGE rusher, it would remain a need. It just wouldn’t be more of a need than cornerback, a position Pittsburgh didn’t address in this mock draft. While there was a run on corners early in the fourth, I find it hard to believe the Steelers would go EDGE here instead of taking someone like CB Garrett Williams out of Syracuse.

The Steelers addressed most of their needs in this mock and added some talent. But failing to address arguably their biggest need in cornerback through the first four rounds would be a failure, especially when considering their next pick wouldn’t be until the seventh. If this is how things shake out later this month, Pittsburgh would likely be looking to further add to its cornerback room in free agency.

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