Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh finally opts to attack the trenches

Team Buckeye offensive guard Paris Johnson Jr. (77)Ohio State Football Spring Game
Team Buckeye offensive guard Paris Johnson Jr. (77)Ohio State Football Spring Game /
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With the Steelers now locked into the 17th overall pick in the draft, here is my first crack at predicting this team’s draft selections in this mock draft.

The focus of the Steelers has now officially become the offseason since the team failed to make the playoffs. While still a long way away, the team needs to win during the draft this year, as this roster is full of holes and needs a few more good pieces. Omar Khan will have his work cut out for him.

There is a multitude of ways the Steelers can go about this draft. I’m personally not considering any potential free-agency routes before constructing this seven-round draft. I simply used PFF’s mock draft simulator and took the best fits I had for the team at any given pick. With all of that said, here is my first crack at a Steelers mock draft for 2023.

Steelers mock draft round 1: OT Paris Johnson

While there are countless positions of need that could be the target here, shoring up and investing in this offensive line is a must. The team scraped by on the play of Dan Moore and Chukwuma Okorafor in 2022, but neither did a great job at protecting Kenny Pickett. I also struggle to see Okorafor being kept around at his current price.

The Steelers could certainly look to free agency for a tackle, but in this scenario, they land one of the top tackle prospects in this draft. Paris Johnson has the potential to be a great left tackle in the league. He has the size you want, incredibly long arms, and the athleticism to move in space. Add in some great play at a top school and Johnson has the makings of a top draft pick.

He isn’t a complete player though, and there is certainly some projection with him. He played guard for Ohio State before this season, and while he looked fine as a tackle, he did have some issues with technique and hand placement. That said, keeping him at guard is a waste, as he has the potential to be a top tackle in this league.

This draft is lacking a defined top lineman, and while many view Paris as that guy, his projection and lack of overall strength may kick him down some boards. He will need some seasoning at tackle, but if he can continue to improve, Johnson would be a slam-dunk pick in the first round of this draft.