Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Week 1 of free agency

Anton Harrison, Steelers
Anton Harrison, Steelers / Brian Bahr/GettyImages
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Round 4, Pick #120: Jartavius “Quan” Martin, DB, Illinois (5’11”, 194)

Overall, one could argue the Steelers are remaking the entire second level of their defense, with Cam Sutton and Terrell Edmunds also departing in free agency. However, given that Damontae Kazee is returning, the Steelers need a replacement at slot corner or box safety. With Kazee patrolling the back end, one could expect Minkah Fitzpatrick to take on a bigger role playing closer to the line of scrimmage. Regardless, Pittsburgh must find a fifth defensive back they can rely on in the slot/overhang areas.

Enter Jartavius “Quan” Martin from Illinois. Some predict that his teammate, Devon Witherspoon, could be a target for the Steelers in the first round. Like Cam Sutton, Martin has experience playing all over the defensive backfield. In his first two seasons with the Illini, he started 13 games at outside corner.

After suffering some injuries, he transitioned to safety, but he spent most of his snaps in the last two seasons in the slot. Perhaps Martin’s greatest skill is his reliability as a tackler. He only missed 7 combined tackles over the previous two seasons, earning a missed tackle rate of about 5.5%. 

With Martin in the lineup, the Steelers could continue to deploy three-safety packages with him, Minkah, and Kazee. All three players can play deep, in the box, or in the slot. This, along with some combination of Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Joey Porter Jr., would give Pittsburgh a very reliable and versatile secondary.