Steelers make a statement on offense in latest ESPN two-round mock draft

Pittsburgh loads up on offense early, but are they aiming to go in a different direction early?
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

After ranking 28th in the NFL in scoring offense with just 17.8 points per game in 2023, we knew the Pittsburgh Steelers weren't going to be content running things back in 2024. Obviously, nobody had a clue that they would go as far as to revamp the QB room by adding both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, but the aggressiveness for change in the Omar Khan regime is a welcome sight.

There's still more work to be done on the offensive side of the football. Signing free agent wide receivers Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins hardly makes up for the loss of Diontae Johnson on the Steelers' roster, while Pittsburgh is desperate for upgrades at center and offensive tackle.

Recently, Field Yates of ESPN released his two-round mock draft. With the 20th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Yates had the Steelers going with versatile offensive lineman, Graham Barton. The Duke product was primarily a left tackle in college, but he projects as an interior offensive lineman in the NFL. For the Steelers, he would be their new starting center.

In the second round, Yates doubled down on offense by having Pittsburgh take Michigan wide receiver, Roman Wilson. Mike Tomlin and company got a great look at Wilson during the Senior Bowl and later at his Michigan Pro Day.

Targeting offense makes sense, but do Steelers have a different plan in mind?

If the 2024 season started today, the Pittsburgh Steelers wouldn't be able to field a starting offense without several major holes. There currently is no true center on the team and Pittsburgh does not have a capable receiver who can step into Diontae Johnson's former role at receiver. Likewise, dealing with Dan Moore as the starting left tackle for another season is less than ideal.

Field Yates has the right process when it comes to his first two selections for Pittsburgh, but do the Steelers view it that way?

Based on recent pre-draft visits, it seems as if offensive tackle and cornerback are the two positions this team is targeting at pick 20 in the 2024 NFL Draft. Clemson CB Nate Wiggins recently joined Georgia OT Amarius Mims as the only two players who check all three boxes we look for in a first-round pick when it comes to Pro Day meetings, Top 30 visits, and NFL Combine visits.

The Steelers also reportedly have Pro Day dinner meetings with Alabama cornerbacks Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid McKinstry, as well as EDGE Dallas Turner.

Pittsburgh's heavy interest in cornerback seems to imply that this team might not be as keen on doubling up on offensive players with their first two picks as fans want them to be. The Steelers haven't expressed much interest in the top center prospects this year, though it does look like taking a receiver in Round 2 is something that is firmly on their radar.

A one-two punch of OL Graham Barton and WR Roman Wilson is solid on paper and would instantly help improve Pittsburgh's offense, but the Steelers may have other plans in mind early in the 2024 NFL Draft.