The Steelers continue on their NFL season as they hold the fifth overall pick currently in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.
Pittsburgh is currently in a tailspin right now as their season is about to enter its toughest part of the schedule. The team is sitting at a poor record after losing to many opponents that do not seem to have high expectations entering the year. The Steelers issues across this roster are starting to get exposed again, especially without T.J. Watt in the lineup.
Some immediate needs come to mind when you look at the club with how it is constructed currently. Offensive tackle, inside linebacker, and a couple of spots in the secondary could be big needs for this team come spring. They should be able to stay active in free agency with some spending cash, but that will probably mean they will be losing some of their own.
Trade, Steelers receive picks: 11 & 25, Lions receive picks: 5 &216
1.11. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Trading back has not become a common trait for the Steelers and fans might groan if they do with the fifth overall pick. The truth is this team needs more picks in the draft as they have traded away many of their late round picks recently. The club can slide back six spots and gain an extra first round selection in this instance.
Paris Johnson is the pick here for Pittsburgh as they get an athletic left tackle that will challenge Dan Moore Jr. for the starting job immediately. Johnson will become a top tackle in the NFL and should be able to protect Kenny Pickett. Investing in the offensive line needs to happen now, especially if Pickett is supplied with the best opportunity to succeed.
1.25. Henry To’oTo’o, LB, Alabama
Gaining a second first round selection was huge for the black and gold in this mock scenario. The defense gains an inside linebacker to deploy next to Myles Jack and take over for the departing Devin Bush. This might be a little bit of a reach for this player in the first round right now, but he has a lot of time to improve his draft stock.
Henry To’oTo’o is the pick here by the Steelers and they get an athletic linebacker that can do it all. The biggest knock on this player is his lack of size, which will raise the eyebrows of many Pittsburgh fans with their recent experience with Bush. To’oTo’o is a different player that plays fast and physical that happens to be a little bigger than Bush.
2.37. Jordan Battle S, Alabama
Crimson continues to turn into black and gold colors as these players leave college. It all started with Najee Harris and now this mock draft consists of two Alabama players being selected by Pittsburgh. An early second round pick is almost equivalent to a first-round selection, especially with some talented players making it out of night one.
Jordan Battle is the selection here as the Steelers will likely be in desperate need of safety help after this season concludes. Unless they re-sign Terrell Edmunds, there is going to be a gaping hole at strong safety. Battle has played meaningful snaps for Alabama during his four years there and has been one of the best safeties in the nation since.
3.69. Tyree Wilson, Edge, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson seems like a guy that could shine down at the Senior Bowl when that part of the offseason strolls around. He has great athletic ability and power behind his play that should be able to catch the eye of many scouts. The need for an edge rusher will be there as the depth behind the two starters are dwindling.
Right now, Alex Highsmith is playing great football and that could lead to him leaving the club in a couple of years in free agency because the Steelers cannot afford him. The team needs to draft and develop someone behind him in case that situation plays out. Either way, Wilson would be tremendous depth that can come onto the field as a third option.
4.105. Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU
Another secondary selection is made here as the roster needs to fortify bodies across the board. Safety will need a starter and some depth options to fill different roles as well. Cornerback will need to be addressed as well since Cam Sutton will likely be gone when free agency rolls around.
Mekhi Garner is the selection here as he is still young and has the elite size that every NFL team is looking for. The Steelers get a guy that does not cause too many turnovers and will need some work as he gets to the next level. His biggest concern is the lack of tackling skill he possesses right now, which will need to be worked on between now and his early career.
7.201. Trevor Downing, OC, Iowa State
Rounding out the draft class is another offensive lineman to fill the roster. Adding a prospect that has experience at different interior line positions is very important to provide competition during the pre-season process. Trevor Downing is the Steelers final pick of this mock draft scenario as he has both experience at guard and center.
Many expect him to either go late on day three or be signed as an undrafted free agent. Pittsburgh needs to supply competition and draft capital into the offensive line no matter what round it is. They get Downing who is physical and can get down the field to block with space around him.
The Steelers will have a lot of holes to fill when the 2023 NFL Draft rolls around. There are plenty of games still left to be played so their differing needs could become more of a necessity as time passes.