A common theme is rising in latest Steelers mock drafts

Steelers, Broderick Jones
Steelers, Broderick Jones / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

A theme is starting to rise in recent NFL mock drafts that I think a lot of Pittsburgh Steelers fans are going to like. Early in the process, it was easy to mock an offensive tackle or a cornerback to the Steel City. However, the further we progressed through the pre-draft process, the more unlikely it seemed that they would be able to land a top prospect at either position.

This was especially true following the NFL Scouting Combine. The top tackles in Paris Johnson Jr. and Broderick Jones flew up draft boards after remarkable performances in Indianapolis while the top three cornerbacks did the same.

With Pittsburgh selecting at pick 17, they could be in a bit of a pickle. The positions they need most and the ones they seem to be targeting during the pre-draft process might not be worth taking when they are on the clock as a wave of talent was projected to be off the board. Fortunately, there's still hope.

Just three weeks away from the 2023 NFL Draft, some experts seem to think that the Steelers will still wind up with one of the players they have wanted along. In fact, there seems to be a theme when it comes to some recent high-profile mocks.

On March 4th, ESPN's Todd McShay published his first two-round mock draft. Surprisingly, he had Georgia OT Broderick Jones falling to Pittsburgh with the 17th pick. Considering his outstanding Combine and Pro Day performances and the fact that teams like the Bears, Titans, and Jets all desperately need offensive tackle help, this would be a bit shocking.

But McShay isn't the only draft expert who thinks that Broderick could make his way to pick 17. This week, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus mocked Jones to the Steelers in the first round

Steelers best-case scenario is a top-two OT at pick 17

The Steelers clearly have no shortages of need, but what Omar Khan and Andy Weidl were able to do in free agency certainly helped plug some glaring holes. This gives Pittsburgh more flexibility early in the draft. But not only is tackle still a big need, it also happens to come at a very important position (and one they haven't targeted in the first round in 26 years).

After hours of film study on each of the top tackle prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, there are only two left tackle prospects who deserve to go in the first round: Paris Johnson Jr. and Broderick Jones. While neither is a perfect prospect, these players with a rare blend of size, length, and traits are incredibly hard to come by.

Many fans have already insisted that trading up for a tackle is something that the Steelers should consider. If the board lays out like this and Pittsburgh is able to get a top-two tackle without a trade-up, this would be the best-case scenario they could possibly ask for.

While there are a large group of fans who want them to take a cornerback in round one, the talent gap between the next wave of players who will be available at pick 32 suggests that Pittsburgh should wait until the second round to dip their toes in those waters.

Next. Re-grading the Pittsburgh Steelers draft one year later. dark

With the NFL Draft on the horizon, it's comforting to know that some plugged-in draft experts still believe that there's a chance a player like Broderick Jones could fall to the Steelers at pick 17 this April.