Steelers' biggest winners and losers from the 2024 NFL Draft

Some Steelers players are breathing a sigh of relief while others will be kicked to the bench following Pittsburgh's draft results.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pittsburgh Steelers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The results of the NFL Draft have the ability to put players on the hot seat or ease the pressure for one more season. You can probably think of a handful of Steelers players who were biting their nails as Pittsburgh was on the clock early in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The direction they choose to go will have a direct impact on some and could alter their future with the team. This isn't all bad. Obviously, the Steelers were able to load up on talent with seven selections in the 2024 draft -- some of whom can help out right away.

Several Steelers players are breathing a sigh of relief now that the draft is over and their jobs look secure. For others, Pittsburgh's draft results weren't kind to them. Here are the biggest Steelers winners and losers from the NFL Draft.

Steelers Draft Winners

CB Donte Jackson

The Steelers had Pro Day dinner meetings with players like Nate Wiggins, Terrion Arnold, and Kool-Aid McKinstry ahead of the NFL Draft, so Donte Jackson's starting role opposite Joey Porter Jr. wasn't secure until Pittsburgh got past the first few rounds.

The Steelers took cornerback Ryan Watts late in the draft, but this decision won't affect where Jackson stands on the depth chart. Jackson is safe as a starting CB in Pittsburgh barring an unforeseen free-agent signing.

DL Larry Ogunjobi

After two unspectacular seasons in Pittsburgh, Larry Ogunjobi was a player who could have seen a decreased role in 2024 if the chips didn't fall his way. The Steelers had expressed interest in early Day 2 interior defenders like Kris Jenkins Jr., Ruke Orhorhoro, and Maason Smith, but these players flew off the board before Pittsburgh's second-round pick.

Despite their interest in improving the defensive line, the Steelers didn't address the position until the sixth round when they selected Iowa's Logan Lee. After the results of the draft, Ogunjobi is expected to have a big role in Pittsburgh's DL rotation again this year.

Van Jefferson

The Pittsburgh Steelers did draft a wide receiver in the third round and Roman Wilson is a good player. However, this was probably the best possible outcome for Van Jefferson. Wilson stands at just 5'10 3/4'' and could begin his career as a slot receiver (where he played the majority of his snaps at Michigan).

Had the Steelers taken a receiver in the first two rounds (like many predicted), Jefferson could have been the odd man out. Instead, he appears to be the projected starting receiver opposite George Pickens following the draft. That could change with a trade for a WR or another free agent signing.

Steelers Draft Losers

OG Nate Herbig

I feel bad for Nate Herbig. After watching Mason Cole struggle all year, it looked like there was a chance he could prove his worth as the team's starting center. Those dreams quickly died as Zach Frazier was available to the Steelers in Round 2 and Pittsburgh pounced at the opportunity to land him.

Herbig, a guard by trade, could still serve as the primary interior backup at both center and guard, but the decision to draft Mason McCormick in Round 4 could mean that the Steelers don't plan to re-sign him after the 2024 season. It was a tough blow for the veteran offensive lineman.

OT Dan Moore Jr.

Dan Moore Jr. probably knew he was in hot water the moment the 2023 season ended. Had the Steelers gone a different direction in Round 1, Moore could have gotten one more crack to prove himself with the starting lineup. Instead, Moore might not see the field again with the starters unless an injury occurs.

Pittsburgh used their first-round pick on Troy Fautanu, and they didn't expect the former Washington left tackle to be available to them at pick 20. Moore's streak of good luck ends here, as he will be heading to the bench this season.

LB Cole Holcomb

When you can't stay on the football field, it's hard to lock down starting jobs. It was bad enough for Cole Holcomb when his stock took a hit with a serious knee injury during the 2023 season and the Patrick Queen signing in free agency. Now Holcomb also has a talented Payton Wilson to compete with.

Wilson was viewed by many as the best linebacker in the country. The third-round pick has a serious injury history as well, but he has been able to stay on the field for two straight seasons now. If Holcomb returns from rehabbing his knee, he could see a dramatically reduced role on defense.