Cross another first-round candidate off the list for the Steelers at pick 17

Steelers, Deonte Banks
Steelers, Deonte Banks / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

There hasn't been a big 'wow' moment this offseason in which the Pittsburgh Steelers have tipped their hat on which direction they are going in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. In years past, it became pretty simple by this point to figure out what they were doing. We figured Najee Harris or Travis Etienne would be their pick in 2021, and last year, there was no question they were taking a quarterback with their top pick.

Though we still don't know exactly which position the Steelers wish to target with their first selection in 2023, their list of possible first-round prospects is slowly dwindling down. On March 29th, cornerback Deonte Banks worked out at Maryland's Pro Day. To the dismay of many fans, Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan were nowhere to be found.

Historic trends tell us that a head coach/general manager pro day visit from the Steelers is essentially required to be a first-round pick. This is something that has held true until at least 2010. While there is a glimmer of hope that this could change under the direction of new management, it might not be easy for Tomlin to sign off on a player he didn't take the time to visit with during the pro day scouting trail.

Many fans fell in love with Banks early in the pre-draft process after he blew up the NFL Scouting Combine with 4.35 speed, a 42'' vertical jump, and an 11'4'' broad jump. Pairing these numbers with a smooth athlete on tape that fits a position of need is all that fans needed to know to get on board.

Steelers very unlikely to draft Deonte Banks in round one

The absence of Pittsburgh's brass at Maryland Pro Day is a very good indicator that the Steelers will look to go in another direction with the 17th overall pick this year. While many fans view cornerback as this team's biggest need, Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan could have something else in mind.

Based on pro-day and pre-draft visits, beefing up the offensive line seems to be a top priority. As far as cornerbacks go, the Steelers did not have Tomlin or Khan on hand to see Christian Gonzalez at Oregon's Pro Day. At Penn State's Pro Day, assistant GM Andy Weidl and others were there to watch Joey Porter Jr. (this was likely because Tomlin and Khan couldn't be there due to the NFL owners' meeting taking place).

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Whether the team is looking to draft a cornerback or not, this doesn't bode well for the chances of Deonte Banks being selected by the Steelers in the first round. It's worth noting that this rule of thumb doesn't apply past the first round, and it's possible that Banks is still in play if he falls this far.