Steelers have dinner meeting with top OL prospects at Ohio State Pro Day

Steelers, Paris Johnson Jr.
Steelers, Paris Johnson Jr. / Ben Jackson/GettyImages

If you are one of the fans who really hopes the Pittsburgh Steelers target the offensive line early in the 2023 NFL Draft, you might just get your wish. It's been an extremely busy Pro Day schedule for Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan, but there is a lot more work to do in the coming weeks. After kicking the week off with a pair of Pro Days at Iowa and Iowa State on back-to-back days, the Steelers weren't about to miss Ohio State's Pro Day.

On Wednesday, numerous draft prospects from one of the best college football programs in the business took the field for athletic testing and workouts, and there was a packed house on hand. Ohio State has no shortage of talent on both sides of the ball. This includes the potential number one overall pick in QB C.J. Stroud and possible first-round receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

However, the Steelers had something else in mind. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network confirms that Tomlin and Khan had a dinner meeting with some big trench players including LT Parris Johnson Jr., RT Dawand Jones, C Luke Wypler, and EDGE Zach Harrison.

In addition to Tomlin and Khan being on hand, Steelers OL coach Pat Meyer was also at Ohio State's Pro Day. This shouldn't come as a major surprise. Pittsburgh has expressed interest in some of the top trench players early in the pre-draft process, but this dinner meeting is exactly what fans were hoping to see.

Ohio State players added to Steelers draft radar

Historically, these Pro Day dinner meetings have meant something. Last year, Kenny Pickett became the first Steelers first-round pick in over a decade not to receive a dinner meeting with the team, but Pittsburgh obviously knew him very well.

However, I don't think it's wise to expect Tomlin and the Steelers to stray from the book twice in a row. Typically, these dinner meetings put players squarely on the map that Pittsburgh could take in the first round. In this particular case with Ohio State, Paris Johnson Jr. is the clear frontrunner to be selected in the first round among the group that Tomlin and Khan met with.

This doesn't mean that Pittsburgh couldn't take a player like Dawand Jones in the first round (though some would consider this a reach). More than likely, this solidifies players like Jones, Wypler, and Harrison as potential strong day-two candidates in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Johnson is one of my dream scenarios for Pittsburgh, as true left tackle candidates are extremely hard to come by. This is a position that the Steelers haven't targeted in the first round in 26 years, but the addition of assistant GM Andy Weidl could help change that.

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Tomlin and Khan aren't guaranteed to draft a single player from Ohio State with one of their seven draft picks this year, but there is clearly interest on their part. If Paris Johnson somehow falls to pick 17, he should be considered a very strong first-round candidate for the Pittsburgh Steelers.