Steelers mock draft roundup: Cornerback is a running theme with the 17th pick

Steelers, Joey Porter Jr.
Steelers, Joey Porter Jr. / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

With the draft now just days away, there will only be one more mock draft Monday before the Carolina Panthers are officially on the clock with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. As we inch closer to draft day, we are getting a very good feel of the players the Pittsburgh Steelers could be targeting in the middle of the first round.

Early this week, the Steelers hosted Georgia OT Broderick Jones and Clemson DT Bryan Bresee for pre-draft visits. Interestingly, the latest NFL mock drafts don't have the Steelers looking at these positions early. Instead, cornerback seems to be a running theme with the 17th overall pick. Here's the latest Steelers mock draft roundup.

Steelers mock draft roundup

Dane Brugler, The Athletic (subscription required): Joey Porter Jr. CB, Penn State

Dane Brugler is one of the most respected NFL Draft voices in the business, so if he thinks Joey Porter Jr. is going to the Steelers, we better listen. Obviously, the connections to the Penn State cornerback were easy to make from the start.

Porter checks major boxes when it comes to position of need, athleticism, and a big school with a strong defensive program. His strong family bloodlines are a bonus that Mike Tomlin looks for and he makes too much sense to brush over him.

Charles Davis, NFL Network: Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia

In recent Steelers mocks, Charles Davis was the oddball -- projected an edge defender to Pittsburgh. Regardless of how you feel about this, taking an EDGE at pick 17 isn't out of the question. Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan met with players like Nolan Smith, Lukas Van Ness, Myles Murphy, and Will McDonald IV at their pro days during the pre-draft process.

Smith certainly has some desirable traits as a pass rusher with his elite speed/explosion combination and excellent bend. Is it a luxury pick? Perhaps. But you can never have too many good football players. Davis references Alex Highsmith's expiring contract following the 2023 season as a strong reason for this pick.

Matthew Freedman, Fantasy Pros: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Deonte Banks is easily the second-most frequently mocked cornerback to the Pittsburgh Steelers behind Joey Porter Jr. On the consensus board, this is going to end up looking like a bit of a reach if Omar Khan goes in this direction on draft day, but the traits are certainly there.

As a 99.9 percentile athlete, Banks tested as the third-best athlete among over 2,200 cornerbacks entering the league since 1987. The traits are undeniable, but the tape isn't perfect. Still, he would fill a big position of need.

Jared Dubin, CBS Sports: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

Fantasy Pros isn't the only media outlet mocking Deonte Banks to the Steelers in round one. Jard Dubin of CBS Sports shares the same prediction. Pittsburgh met with Banks recently for a pre-draft visit and he checks most of the boxes the team looks for in a first-round pick. Tomlin and Khan weren't at his pro day, but it's worth noting that there was a scheduling conflict as the NFL owners' meeting was taking place at that time.

Cam Mellor, Pro Football Network: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Add another tally for Joey Porter Jr. There probably aren't five players this year who are more frequently mocked to one particular team than Porter is to Pittsburgh. He's a box-checker who is going to wind up being right on value with this selection -- assuming he makes it to pick 17. There's a chance that we find out after the draft that he was the player they were eyeing all along

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