4 dark-horse candidates to be Steelers pick in the first round of the draft

Azeez Ojulari #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Azeez Ojulari #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Everyone is pointing to the same few players for the Steelers in the first round, but here are four dark-horse candidates to be their top pick in the NFL Draft. 

The last two months have been the same old stories for the Pittsburgh Steelers when it comes to the NFL Draft. Experts are continually mocking offensive tackles, running backs, and centers to Pittsburgh with their 24th overall pick, and occasionally a quarterback is sprinkled in. However, history tells us that this may not be the case.

Counting the pick they used to acquire Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Steelers have spent their first-round draft choice on a defensive player in eight consecutive seasons – four of which were used on an inside or outside linebacker. While it certainly seems likely that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert will attempt to address one of their glaring offensive needs early, here are four dark-horse candidates who could be the Steelers pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft:

Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia

This year, it’s really hard to predict where the edge defenders will be drafted, and there isn’t a consensus number one player like there has been the last few years. Jaelan Phillips would have been a sure-fire top-10 pick if not for the concerning concussion issues that caused him to quit football once already. Therefore, Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari might be the best edge defender in the class.

At 6’3” and just 240 pounds, Ojulari might not be for everyone, but he is a perfect fit for the Steelers as the bendy, speed rusher across from T.J. Watt. Alex Highsmith had a great rookie season, but the talent of Ojulari at a premium position that Pittsburgh covets could cause them to go this direction in the first round if he’s still on the board.