Short list of first-round candidates for Steelers in the 2024 NFL Draft

The list of possible first-round picks is shrinking; Here are the candidates the Steelers will pick from in Round 1.
Florida Atlantic v Clemson
Florida Atlantic v Clemson / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

With the 2024 NFL Draft less than a week away, we've reached the point in the pre-draft process where we can narrow down Pittsburh's first-round pick to just a handful of players. Since the NFL Scouting Combine, we have carefully tracked the moves of Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan to determine who their selection could be at pick 20.

Along the way, Pittsburgh's brass has held numerous formal Combine meetings, Pro Day stops, and Top 30 pre-draft visits. Their interest in certain prospects and positions has helped us narrow their most likely selection down to just six players ahead of the NFL Draft.

For this exercise, I used consensus board rankings and projected draft spots to determine which players will be available to Pittsburgh in Round 1. From there, our pre-draft visit tracker will help us narrow down the Steelers' first-round selection to one of these six players.

Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia

If there's a frontrunner to be Pittsburgh's first-round pick in 2024, it's Amarius Mims. The Steelers have been vocal about moving Broderick Jones back to left tackle, and Mims is a right tackle by trade.

While Mims will have the fewest college snaps ever played by a first-round pick, he checks practically every other box the Steelers look for when it comes to size, athletic traits, youth, and school that they look for. Mims was also just one of two players who checked all three visit boxes, as Pittsburgh met with him at the NFL Combine, his Georgia Pro Day, and for a Top 30 visit.

Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson

Surprisingly, the other player to check every visit box for the Steelers was Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins. Though the Steelers did trade for veteran CB Donte Jackson, Wiggins has been firmly on their draft radar since the beginning of the pre-draft process.

Wiggins didn't hit all of the thresholds they look for at cornerback when it comes to weight and length), but he's tall and blazing fast (4.28 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine). Wiggins' sticky man-coverage ability would be a perfect pairing with Joey Porter Jr. He also checks the boxes when it comes to youth (just turned 21 years old), athletic traits, and college football program. He's projected to be on the board when the Steelers are on the clock.

Graham Barton, OL, Duke

Graham Barton is a player that fans were hoping the Steelers would express interest in. After a formal meeting with Barton at the NFL Combine, Pittsburgh brought him into the facility for a Top 30 visit one day before the pre-draft visit deadline passed.

Barton doesn't have the desired length to stick at tackle, and the Steelers reportedly view him as a center at the next level. However, Pittsburgh has a big need at the position and Barton checks nearly every box when it comes to experience, athleticism, and school. He also offers versatility and position flexibility.

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Terrion Arnold is a cornerback prospect who could be off the board when the Pittsburgh Steelers are on the clock, but if he's available at pick 20, Omar Khan could pounce. Arnold isn't an elite athlete, but he's a very smooth player with functional athleticism who checks nearly every box this team looks for in a first-round pick.

The Alabama cornerback was productive with excellent tape and he's one of the youngest players in the class. He comes at a position the Steelers are eyeing early in the draft and many view him as the top CB prospect this year (from a school that produces excellent defensive backs). He will be considered if he's still on the board at this point.

JC Latham, OT, Alabama

While some teams think JC Latham's best position in the NFL will come as a guard, the Steelers would keep the Alabama product as their right tackle -- the position he played the past two years for the Crimson Tide.

Latham has good movement skills for a player his size and a mean streak as a run blocker. He's big, strong, and young with solid tape and comes from one of the best football programs in the country. Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan met with him formally at the Combine and were on hand to watch him work out at his Alabama Pro Day.

Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa

The over/under for where Cooper DeJean will be drafted is right where the Pittsburgh Steelers will be picking. DeJean didn't do much throughout the pre-draft process as he nursed his way back from a broken leg, but he tested as a phenomenal athlete in his private workout after being cleared to return.

DeJean has outstanding ball skills and tackling ability for a cornerback -- two traits the Steelers are sure to love. He also has the ability to play slot cornerback, and Pittsburgh happens to have a major hole on their roster for this role. DeJean could be one of the top-rated players on the board when the Steelers are on the clock, and Pittsburgh used a Top 30 visit to meet with him.