2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Grab Rarely Mocked Pass Rusher At #17

If you had to tabulate the most popular names to the Pittsburgh Steelers at #17, it’d probably look something like this. Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr., Clemson DT Bryan Bresee, and Alabama DB Brian Branch. One name who doesn’t come up often is another Clemson Tigers’ prospect, EDGE rusher Myles Murphy.

In CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson’s latest mock draft, he has the Steelers grabbing Murphy 17th overall. Explaining the unusual pick, he writes:

“Murphy turned 21 in early January, and while we’d like to see him play with more consistency, his best football is in front of him, for sure. He has all the physical tools you look for in an elite edge defenders and it’s easy to see him in a few years being dominant. And that, in large part, is what makes him such an interesting prospect.”

Murphy was and largely still is considered a top prospect in this year’s draft but injury has seen his stock slip a bit and it’s possible he tumbles into the teens. A well-built pass rusher at 6’5, 268 pounds with 33 3/4 inch arms, he had a good but not great college career with 36 TFL and 18.5 sacks plus six forced fumbles over a three-year span. In 2022, he notched 11 TFL and 6.5 sacks.

A hamstring injury caused him to sit out of this year’s Combine and the Tigers Pro Day, though he’ll hold a Pro Day workout for teams on Tuesday. He checks the right boxes for a Steelers’ first round pick. Young, Power 5, and likely athletic with solid production. But it’s hard for the Steelers to justify using a first round pick on an EDGE rusher when they have T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith unless they know they won’t get a long-term deal done with Highsmith this summer. Adding EDGE help is a real need but #17 feels a bit rich. Still, this mock focuses on value and talent over need and no team has had so many good players that they were unable how to figure out how to use them.

In our scouting report, Owen Straley gave Murphy a first round grade and comp’d him to Marcus Davenport. You can check out his full report at the end of the article.

Elsewhere in the CBS mock, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud goes first overall to Carolina while the next two spots are also occupied by quarterbacks: Alabama’s Bryce Young #2 and Florida’s Anthony Richardson at #3 (in a trade, the Titans go up to get him). Ohio State OT Paris Johnson is the next off the board at #4 while Alabama EDGE Will Anderson falls into the Steelers’ laps at #5. Georgia DT Jalen Carter stays local, plucked by the Atlanta Falcons at #8. Again, click here to read the entire mock.

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