Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh's selections reflect pre-draft interests

Steelers, Kelee Ringo
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The 2023 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and we now have a really good idea of which players the Pittsburgh Steelers could look to target this April. Unlike years past, it's hard to narrow their first-round pick down to just one position (much less, one player). However, their pre-draft interests give us an idea of the direction they could go early.

Obviously, what this team decides to do with the 17th overall pick will have ripple effect on the order in which they address other positions of need. There are certain positions where the talent lines up better in day two than others, and Pittsburgh is well aware of that. My latest seven-round Steelers mock draft has Omar Khan and Andy Weidl selecting players they have shown interest in during the pre-draft process.

. Nolan Smith. 1. player. . . Edge defender. 527

Steelers mock draft round 1: EDGE Nolan Smith

This selection may throw fans into a tizzy. With T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith on the roster, edge defender is hardly Pittsburgh's biggest need. However, I can certainly see a scenario where the talent gets wiped off the board at both offensive tackle and cornerback before the Steelers are on the clock.

I wouldn't be shocked to learn that OT Broderick Jones or CB Joey Porter Jr. are the top targets for Pittsburgh, but I think the chances are relatively slim that either is available. If this proves to be the case, the Steelers could go with a versatile edge defender in Nolan Smith.

Pittsburgh's brass got a good look at Smith during Georgia's Pro Day as defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was also on hand with Tomlin and Khan. Meanwhile, the Steelers brain-trust has met with four of the top edge defenders on the pro-day trail. This team clearly lacks depth at both edge defender and off-ball linebacker, and Smith could be a chess piece that offers a little bit of everything.