Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL Draft: Team Needs and Top Targets

    What are the most pressing Pittsburgh Steelers draft needs? With the 2023 NFL Draft here, let's dive into the positional gaps they might fill.

    The 2023 NFL Draft has officially started, and Round 1 was already one for the record books. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a position to compete for a playoff spot if things break right. What are their biggest needs ahead of the draft, and which targets might be most appealing for a franchise on the verge of breaking out?

    Pittsburgh Steelers Team Needs After Round 1 of the NFL Draft

    • C
    • EDGE
    • WR
    • CB

    The Steelers’ offensive line isn’t a complete disaster. What does that mean? It means it overperformed relative to expectations a season ago, and the addition of Isaac Seumalo should help even more. And while Mason Cole is insulated by two good guards, he’s entirely replaceable.

    With an overperforming offensive line, the Steelers decided to add to a unit that they needed to help protect their franchise QB, Kenny Pickett.

    Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s starters on the edge are set, but they absolutely need positional depth, and the 2023 NFL Draft could give this franchise the kind of outside linebackers they prefer.

    More: Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL Draft Picks

    Cornerback is more of a long-term need at this point, and while they could stand to add a receiver or two, seeing how George Pickens and Calvin Austin III progress could be the direction this organization goes.

    The Steelers have seven selections this draft, including each of their pre-assigned selections through the first four rounds. Though lacking their own fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-rounders, trades garnered them a critically important extra second-rounder, and they also landed two picks in the seventh.

    Results for Every Steelers 2023 NFL Draft Pick

    Round 1, Pick 14: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

    The Steelers decided to move up in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft from No. 17 to 14.  With offensive line arguably being the Steelers’ biggest need in the 2023 NFL Draft, they leapfrogged the New York Jets and Washington Commanders to land Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones.

    Jones’ near-elite length and rotational freedom grant him high-level power capacity. He’s able to torque and hold defenders in place with one-arm extensions. And upon extending, he can use his length to channel awesome power and his hips to generate additional torque and drive through rotations, sending defenders to the turf.

    Predictions for Every Remaining Steelers Draft Pick

    We used PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator to project some realistic Pittsburgh targets at each of their draft positions. Here’s a breakdown of the results.

    Round 2, Pick 32: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

    The Steelers are apparently shopping this pick with QB Will Levis still on the board. However, if they decide to use it, CB Joey Porter Jr. should be the pick. This pick would check a lot of boxes. Porter Jr.’s dad was a longtime Pittsburgh linebacker, helping them win Super Bowl XL over the Seahawks. Porter Jr. played college football at nearby Penn State. Oh, and he’s a difference-making cornerback.

    Round 2, Pick 49: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

    An interesting selection, especially with the young Pat Freiermuth proving his worth for the Steelers. But Luke Musgrave is also a superb TE playmaker. In lieu of adding another WR (or maybe it doesn’t have to be either/or), the Steelers could find a way to pair Freiermuth with the up-and-coming Musgrave.

    Round 3, Pick 80: A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest

    Here we go. While Wake Forest’s A.T. Perry is relatively old at 23, his ceiling is tremendous. Unfortunately, he might be more of a boom/bust project, as dropped passes and other inconsistencies keep him from rising higher in the draft. Still, Pittsburgh could afford to work with him for the next two years in the hope he develops into a regular starter.

    Round 4, Pick 140: Zacch Pickens, DT, South Carolina

    More defensive help for a unit that was solid last year but also not at a “we can contain the best teams” level. Zacch Pickens could contribute to the Steelers’ upswing.

    Round 7, Pick 241: Cameron Brown, CB, Ohio State

    Will this team be content to wait for three rounds to pick again? We should not be surprised if they trade down at pick No. 140 to, for example, secure two fifth-rounders. Much depends on how much they want a particular guy vs. wanting two among a host of options.

    MORE: Overall 2023 NFL Draft Team Needs

    So Cameron Brown might be the kind of guy that Pittsburgh pick late to see what he can do. Or, if they’re looking for more help now, they could trade down at 140 to snag a higher-profile defensive back earlier while retaining some draft capital (e.g., another fifth-rounder) to secure another talent.

    Round 7, Pick 251: Karl Brooks, DT, Bowling Green

    Karl Brooks is yet another defender to close out Pittsburgh’s draft. This mock has a little bit of everything, giving the Steelers potential upgrades at numerous positions, as well as much-needed depth.

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