Steelers bring in intriguing cornerback prospect for a pre-draft visit
By Tommy Jaggi
With the rush of free agency behind us, we can really start to take a deep dive into which prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers will be eyeing early in the NFL Draft. There are a number of things we look for early in the process and boxes that often need to be checked. These include NFL Combine meetings, Pro Day visits, and pre-draft visits.
Right now, there are a handful of players who are checking off these boxes and will be in contention to be the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Others in whom the organization has shown a strong interest may be considered strong day-two candidates this year.
Recently, John Sokoloff of WCBI News at Mississippi State said that the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of seven teams who have scheduled a pre-draft visit with cornerback, Emmanuel Forbes. The Mississippi State standout has insane ball production that includes 14 interceptions and an eye-popping 6 defensive touchdowns.
Steelers could draft Emmanuel Forbes on day two
Pound for pound, Forbes is one of my favorite prospects set to enter the 2023 NFL Draft... but his lack of weight is quite literally the issue. Despite being listed at 180 pounds in college, Forbes came into the NFL Combine at a concerning 166 pounds. This was the smallest number on record for a cornerback coming into the league since 1999, according to Mockdraftable's database.
We are not talking about a short, compact cornerback either. At 6'0 3/4'' with a massive 79'' wingspan, Forbes has a very awkward build as he is extremely long and thin. However, adding weight is clearly an issue. Despite his best effort to do so prior to the Combine, Forbes came in well under the desired weight teams look for at the position.
This is going to affect his draft stock, but it might not matter enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers to cross him off -- and they shouldn't. Forbes is an effortless mover with smooth hips and an outstanding feel for the game. He not only performed well at the highest level of college football in the SEC, but he also showed that he has a knack for taking the ball away.
Meanwhile, the Steelers have a desperate need for a cornerback like Emmanuel Forbes. Entering training camp, their cornerbacks will have a mean age of 29 years old. The roster greatly lacks both youth and upside at the position, and Forbes could offer that. With his athletic profile which includes 4.35 speed and freakish length, Forbes would fix that problem.
In Pittsburgh, Forbes is talented enough to compete with Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace from the gate for a chance to earn the CB2 role alongside Patrick Peterson.
While the tape and traits alone are good enough to make the case for Forbes in the first round, his concerning 166-pound frame will have teams pumping the breaks. Because of his lightening fast metabolism, it's unclear whether Forbes will be able to get much bigger than this -- even with NFL strength and weight conditioning.
The collection of these things will likely make Forbes a day-two selection. The visit puts him squarely on Pittsburgh's NFL Draft radar. Forbes joins seven other prospects (including one other cornerback in Georgia's Kelee Ringo) as the only eight players to receive pre-draft visits from the Steelers so far. He's a name to keep an eye on this April.