Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh doubles down for offensive line help

Chop Robinson #44 of the Penn State Nittany Lions in action against Peter Skoronski #77 of the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 1, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Chop Robinson #44 of the Penn State Nittany Lions in action against Peter Skoronski #77 of the Northwestern Wildcats during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 1, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Mazi Smith #58 of the Michigan Wolverines sacks Drew Allar #15 of the Penn State Nittany Lions. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) /

Defensive tackle. Wolverines . Mazi Smith. 3. player. 811.

Steelers mock draft round 3: DT/NT Mazi Smith

It’s been too long since the Steelers have made any sort of genuine effort to get a true run-stopper in the middle of their defense. Tyson Alualu was a tremendous addition to the team back in 2017, but following a season-ending injury early in 2021, Alualu looked completely washed up at the age of 35 this past season.

Alaulu’s counterpart at the nose tackle position, Montravius Adams, was also far less than spectacular in 2022. Both players graded out among the worst interior defenders in the league this past season, according to Pro Football Focus.

For this reason, I could definitely see the Pittsburgh Steelers eying a player like Mazi Smith in the 2023 NFL draft. The Michigan defensive tackle is listed at 6’3” and a stout 337 pounds. With just one sack in three seasons in college, Smith doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, but his ability to control the point of attack, take on double-team blocks, and dominate against the run is still very valuable.

Because of his limitations as a pass rusher, this selection probably comes one round too early for my liking, but Smith could really solidify the interior defensive line and help Teryl Austin’s defense force opposing offenses into 3rd and long situations more often.