Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh boosts their average weight in the trenches

Steelers, Mazi Smith
Steelers, Mazi Smith / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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. 491. . . Safety. Ji'Ayir Brown. 3. player

Steelers mock draft round 3: S Ji'Ayir Brown

I wouldn't be so quick to assume that, just because the Steelers lost Terrell Edmunds in free agency to the Eagles, they are guaranteed to draft a safety early. If they wanted to, Pittsburgh had the funds to easily match the offer, but perhaps they wanted to move in a different direction at the safety position.

Ji'Ayir Brown isn't the biggest or most physically gifted safety entering the 2023 NFL Draft. At the NFL Combine, Brown measured in at just 5' 11'' and 203 pounds and ran a 4.65 40-yard dash. But what he lacks in his athletic profile he makes up for with impressive instincts and ball skills.

In just two years as a starter at Penn State since 2021, Brown has recorded an impressive 10 interceptions -- taking the ball the other way for 226 yards and a defensive touchdown. Brown is much closer to Damontae Kazee than Terrell Edmunds when it comes to size, traits, and overall skillset, but Kazee was obviously a bigger priority for the Steelers this offseason.

With no trustworthy depth behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kazee, the Steelers could look for another instinctive ballhawk in the secondary who can backup both safety positions. Ji'Ayir Brown fits that description.