The Steelers were able to address many of their issues in this mock draft by trading back and adding some extra picks.
Sitting at the bye week currently with the fourth overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft is uncommon territory. The Steelers have been struggling all season and they have added to their draft pile recently with the addition of the Bears second round pick via trade. That should come in handy for the club as they hope to end this rebuilding process as fast as possible. Trades are allowed in this scenario as the mock draft is put through a simulated process.
TRADE: Pittsburgh Steelers trade first round pick to Green Bay Packers for picks 13, 43, and 2024 1st rounder
There were many great prospects still available at the fourth overall spot, but Jalen Carter out of Georgia was gone. He should be the Steelers top choice to fix the issues in the middle of their defensive line if he is still available. They get an offer from Green Bay that they could not refuse and are still set up to select a solid player. Dropping nine picks might not be an ideal scenario but the fact that Pittsburgh gets an extra second round pick this year and the Packers first next year is a steal.
1.13: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
Northwestern is not having the strongest season, but Peter Skoronski is a guy to keep an eye on as the draft process plays out. The Steelers desperately need to upgrade at left tackle and that is exactly what they get here. Skoronski is an athletic guy for his size and can also provide some position flexibility if needed. Getting him to be the starter for this offensive line at pick 13 is another great value for Pittsburgh as they start their work on the trenches.
2.34: Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame
Right now, it will not be a long wait to hear the Steelers call the first of their second-round selections. They nab a first-round talent on the second day of the event with Isaiah Foskey just sitting there for them. Alex Highsmith will be leaving in free agency in the not so distant future, so they will need to work on his replacement soon. Foskey is the best all-around outside linebacker in this draft that is relentless in his play style.
2.42: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Cornerback is another sneaky need for the black and gold after their failed free agency experiment last year. Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace are not going to cut it, and the judgement on William Jackson III is still out there. They go with a top-notch prospect that has ties to the Steelers with Joey Porter Jr out of Penn State. The connection to the organization is obvious and he checks every box that the team loves to select.
2.43: JL Skinner, S, Boise State
The outcome of free agency will affect how the Steelers attack the draft and which positions that they prioritize. Assuming that they cannot re-sign Terrell Edmunds this offseason, the need for a starting safety next to Minkah Fitzpatrick is going to be vital. The club double dips in the secondary during round two with JL Skinner out of Boise State. He brings a big body that has shocking athleticism that will apply to the NFL greatly.
3.68: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
Another position that needs an upgrade will be at inside linebacker. Free agency might not be the target for the Steelers as they just did that last offseason with Myles Jack. Devin Bush and Pittsburgh has to part ways as both parties have not seen eye to eye. They select Jack Campbell in the third round as it provides another good value pick. There is some differing of opinion on Campbell by many evaluators, but he is a smart player that lacks some athletic ability which could hinder him in certain aspects.
4.103: Ruke Orhorhoro, DT, Clemson
Ruke Orhorhoro plays in a deeply talented defensive line group at Clemson. Two of his teammates that start in front of him could be selected on day two of the draft. Orhorhoro has been a role player in the defensive line rotation for the Tigers and has done a nice job. He could always return for another season as a full-time starter to boost his draft stock, but he would help the depth behind Cam Heyward and company. Figuring out the depth in the trenches is going to be pivotal for the Steelers and this prospect would help add talent to that room.
7.199: Nick Hampton, EDGE, Appalachian State
Double dipping at the edge position was a difficult choice, but you cannot bypass the monster numbers that Nick Hampton is applying. He is going to a small program, but he has been able to apply pressure to the passer at a monster rate. Getting Hampton in the room would provide competition and potentially lock down the depth conversation for the Steelers at outside linebacker. Getting four guys at this position would allow for a non-stop pass rush for this defense.
7.225: Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburgh
Another recognizable name for fans of Pittsburgh sports comes around again after Kenny Pickett was selected last year. Seeing Israel Abanikanda this late in the draft process was somewhat surprising with the kind of rushing numbers that he is producing. The issue with him is that he has not been able to show in regards to catching the ball or during his pass-pro reps. Abanikanda will need to round out his game at the next level and the Steelers need a running back to push for their third spot with Benny Snell Jr. becoming a free agent after this season.
The Steelers were able to address many of their holes across their roster with some more trade activity. Some fans might not like the idea of most of the selections being on defense, but the club was able to add to many of their positions of need.