Steelers Mock Draft: Pittsburgh turns the page on Kenny Pickett

Steelers emphasize quarterback, center, and cornerback early in my latest seven-round mock draft.

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Xavier Watts. . . Xavier Watts. 6. . player. 443. . Xavier Watts

Steelers mock draft round 6: Xavier Watts, S, Notre Dame

The Pittsburgh Steelers don't have a fifth-round draft choice this year. Skipping ahead to round six, I have them going with Notre Dame safety, Xavier Watts. This team was desperate for quality safety play in 2023, and with Minkah Fitzpatrick missing a good chunk of time, the back end of their defense really struggled.

Once again, this can be attributed to putting too much stock into aging veterans like Damontae Kazee and Keanu Neal. Sadly, there really isn't an up-and-coming player at the position to look forward to either.

In many ways, safeties have become like the running backs of the defense. They are abundant and relatively easy to find. Only the great ones are big difference-makers, so I would prefer the Steelers don't take one early in the draft.

Watts is a compact safety who exploded with a monster season in 2023 -- earning 7 interceptions and 137 interception return yards. Even as a late-round pick, the redshirt junior out of Notre Dame would stand an excellent shot of making the roster and would have a chance to carve out a role if all goes well.