Steelers mock draft round 2: EDGE Nolan Smith
The Devin Bush experiment didn’t exactly go as planned. While Bush has made some strides for the Steelers late in the 2022 season, he has an expiring contract and may be looking for a fresh start in 2023.
Meanwhile, Myles Jack is set to have an absurd cap number of $11.25 million next season, and Pittsburgh could save $8 million with his release early in the offseason. Even if one of these linebackers returns in 2023, the Steelers are still looking for a long-term replacement since the loss of Ryan Shazier. Nolan Smith could really give this team a boost.
At 6’3” and 235 pounds, Nolan Smith is much taller and longer than the off-ball linebackers they typically have. Though Smith has recorded 20.0 sacks in his four years for the Georgia Bulldogs, he managed just 18 tackles last season.
Injuries are also a bit of a concern, as Smith missed multiple games in both 2020 and 2022 and he will be fresh off a season-ending pectoral injury. Still, his presence would almost certainly be an instant upgrade over what the Steelers currently have at the linebacker position, and they could certainly go this route on day two of the 2023 NFL Draft.