Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh puts the focus back on the trenches

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of needs to address. Here’s what I have them doing in my post-NFL Combine mock draft. 

Given the number of needs the Steelers have coming into the 2022 season the gaps are going to have to be filled by a roughly equal combination of the Draft and free agency. The good news is the Steelers should have a lot more cap space than they’re used to. So, they can address some of the needs with free agency. Two of the biggest problems, the offensive line and run defense are the main needs I decided to ‘tackle’ for this mock draft. (Bad pun)

None of the 2021 O-Line starters have staked a claim to their jobs. The number one memory of the Steelers 2021 season is the black and gold O-Line getting knocked into the backfield, play after play. The most glaring weaknesses are at center and left tackle. Yes, I said left tackle. Dan Moore is ridiculously overrated and way below average. He’s even worse than the below-average, Chuks Okorafor. Despite Najee Harris getting over 1000 yards, the Steelers finished 29th in rushing in 2021.

The Steelers run defense was even worse, ending dead last in the NFL. This is the Pittsburgh Steelers we’re talking about. This is not acceptable. Injured nose tackle, Tyson Alualu wants to return but he will be 35 when the season starts. The team needs to add a run-stuffing nose tackle and should bring in an influx of talent who excel at run defense.

It’s a very good thing for the Steelers that this draft is deep at O-Line, D-Line, and linebacker. It’s also deep with running backs and wide receivers. There will be a number of talented players going undrafted this year.

Even though everyone is nervous about facing the post Ben Roethlisberger era, this is not the right Draft to look for his successor. There are no franchise quarterbacks available, no matter how much the ‘Draft Gurus’ try to hype it. Malik Willis the QB most associated with Pittsburgh is a throwing disaster waiting to happen. He is not an NFL-caliber thrower. In the NFL it’s not about how far you can throw; it’s about accuracy and Malik Willis has none. Out of all the the2022 QB prospects I wouldn’t be surprised if sleepers, E.J. Perry and Jack Coan, have the longest NFL careers of all of them.

The Steelers have a good chance of adding a number of starters in this deep draft.