The stats that could promise the Steelers a promising 2023 NFL Draft

Steelers, NFL Draft
Steelers, NFL Draft / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Even when they’re not at the top of the NFL pyramid, the Pittsburgh Steelers have some of the best eyes out there for snagging elite talent. Simply by looking at the players they’ve brought to the Steel City since their Super Bowl XLV appearance, we can see names like Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro, Le’Veon Bell, Stephon Tuitt, and Bud Dupree—just to name a few.

But while that list looks mighty handsome in retrospect, it fails to mean much in regard to how the Steelers sit today. I mean, how can we comfortably assume that Pittsburgh’s draft luck won’t run out? How can we be sure that it didn’t do so last year? Could the 2023 NFL Draft be one that the iconic franchise will wish to forget?

All of those questions bring up valid causes for concern, but luckily for Yinzers, I have it on good authority that the upcoming draft should treat them just fine. Anyone could come to such a confident conclusion simply by looking at the talent up for grabs, along with how well it plays into both Pittsburgh’s roster and needs.

When categorizing current Steelers players by the collegiate conferences they came from, the SEC and Big Ten take the cake for having produced the most of them (31 in total). That means that almost 45 percent of Pittsburgh’s 70-man roster is made up of talent from those two leagues. In other words, they like getting their guys from those necks of the woods. But what does that have to do with the draft coming up?

Well, according to multiple mock drafts from Still Curtain, some of Pittsburgh’s top needs include—in no order of severity—defensive back, defensive end/edge, and offensive tackle. Those positions certainly sound necessary to me, as the Steelers should never turn down depth for the passing defense or pass rush, and they especially shouldn’t do so when talking about offensive line help.

How does all of this add up in the Steelers favor?

Here is where those two factors collide: Pro Football Focus has a list of its top 150 draft prospects for 2023. Of the top 50, 16 of them, both come from either the Big Ten or SEC and play one of the aforementioned positions. When looking amongst the top 100, that number rises to 26.

Simply for the sake of hypotheticals, let’s assume that PFF’s top 100 players were to be the first 100 selected. Four of Pittsburgh’s seven draft picks will have been used by the 81st selection (as they sit right now), meaning that it would have already had multiple chances to scoop up some of the higher-rated prospects.

So, this year’s draft seemingly has quite the opportunity in store for the Steelers, one that can help them get their hands on the most NFL-ready stars from conferences that they have been proven to favor. Remember that this goes without even considering the other picks they have/could trade for, the other impact players they can seek out, the ability to strike gold in later rounds, or the likelihood that the draft will not be as stiff as my previous scenario depicted.

Next. 4 Steelers players who could be traded during the 2023 NFL Draft. dark

It is natural for fans to find themselves fearing misfortune every offseason, and just because prior ones have treated the Steelers well does not mean that their fans are exceptions. However, if Pittsburgh’s draft luck does ever run out, I’d be willing to bet that it's not going to this year.