Steelers 7-round mock draft: Pittsburgh goes defense in round one

Nick Bolton #32 of the Missouri Tigers. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Nick Bolton #32 of the Missouri Tigers. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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With Pittsburgh’s season over, we look ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft. Here’s my first seven-round Steelers mock draft.

The Steelers 2020 season may have ended in disappointment, but the excitement doesn’t end here. There is certainly a lot we need to prepare for this offseason, and several major changes have already been made, including Pittsburgh’s decision not to re-sign offensive Coordinator, Randy Fichtner. In addition, the Steelers will soon be forced to make a handful of notable cuts to get their team back under the cap for the 2021 season, and some big names (even former Pro Bowlers) could get the boot.

Ben Roethlisberger and the whole Steelers offense was a major letdown over the final six games of the season, and most have mocked an offensive lineman to Pittsburgh in round one. While I have Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert addressing the offense frequently with their nine selections this year, I go a bit of a different route in round one. Here’s my first seven-round Steelers mock draft of 2021:

Round 1 (pick 24): Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri

Despite some of the needs on offense over the past few seasons, Pittsburgh has now taken a defensive player with their first-round pick in seven straight drafts (eight if you count Minkah Fitzpatrick. So while all eyes are on the offensive line right now, I have the Steelers bolstering their defense in an effort to keep this unit one of the strongest in the league in the midst of their losses.

Vince Williams is a 31-year-old linebacker who has gotten progressively worse in his ability to move in space, while Robert Spillane and Avery Williamson are both free agents. They could retain one of them (assuming they can find the money), that won’t solve all of their issues over the middle of the field. Pairing Devin Bush with a capable three-down linebacker could give Pittsburgh a major boost in the middle of their defense in 2021. Nick Bolton isn’t the athlete of Bush, but he’s incredibly savvy and very physical for a young player. He would be a perfect fit as a replacement for Vince Williams in the ‘Buck’ linebacker role.