Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh digs their heels in for a cornerback early

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The Pittsburgh Steelers will have some obvious holes they want to fill during the offseason. Here’s what I have them doing in my latest 2023 seven-round mock draft. 

As the 2022 season comes to a close, Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan will soon put their heads together in an effort to improve the Pittsburgh Steelers roster prior to the 2023 season. The Steelers made an excellent effort to fight back from a dismal 2-6 record, but this team still has some improving to do if they want to get back to being true contenders.

Studying Pittsburgh’s draft trends, their early selections have been relatively easy to narrow down in recent years. This isn’t guaranteed to be the case with Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl calling the shots.

However, based on their areas of weakness in 2022, we have a pretty good idea about the positions they may target early in the 2023 NFL Draft. Here’s what I have them doing in my latest seven-round Steelers mock draft.

1

Eli Ricks

Cornerback, Crimson Tide

Steelers mock draft round 1: CB Eli Ricks

There’s a large group of Steelers fans who don’t even like to entertain the idea of drafting a cornerback in the first round. Artie Burns was a colossal disappointment after being selected back in 2016, and the team hasn’t found true success targeting the position in decades. However, part of that could be due to a lack of effort.

With Cameron Sutton being the only dependable player at the position, it’s entirely possible that Tomlin and company could view this as the team’s biggest position of need. Though I’d rather have a player who could help aid in the development of Kenny Pickett, we know how much this team values defense.

After a terrific surge late in the season, the obvious selection — Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State — could be off the board. This won’t prevent Pittsburgh from taking the next best available player on their board. If that’s the case, Eli Ricks could very much be in play in the first round.

Ricks is a former LSU transfer who recorded 4 interceptions as a rookie. For Alabama in 2022, Ricks didn’t offer much splash, but he was a solid contributor to the Crimson Tide’s defense. Sadly, this pick would seem like another reach for a cornerback in the mid-first round.

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