NFL Mock Draft: Predicting Round 1 surprises for Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers, Will McDonald
Steelers, Will McDonald / Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA
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2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

This would be one of the most surprising picks the Steelers could make in 2023 for several reasons. Pittsburgh hasn't expressed a ton of interest in wide receivers during the pre-draft process, but they are rumored to be looking for a slot receiver early. Jaxon Smith-Njigba has much more size than the next-best slot receivers in this class like Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers, and Josh Downs.

However, JSN is expected to be gone by this point, so the Steelers could take that as an unforeseen opportunity if he's still on the board. While I'm not a fan of taking any receiver in the first round this year, it's worth noting that Pittsburgh's brain trust were all on hand at Ohio State's Pro Day.

Admittedly, this was probably much more so for offensive tackles Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones, but this is a box that Smith-Njigba now checks.

Helping a stagnant offense that scored a dismal 18.1 points per game in 2022 has to be a priority, and the Steelers might believe that a great way to do so is by getting Kenny Pickett a reliable receiver who can get open and gain yards after the catch. If he happens to make it this far, Jaxon Smith-Njigba checks the boxes to be a first-round pick.