Steelers mock draft roundup: Defense still a common theme for Pittsburgh

Steelers, Joey Porter Jr.
Steelers, Joey Porter Jr. / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Pittsburgh's offense was abysmal for most of the 2022 season. Even with their improvements after the bye week and the fact that the Steelers earned a 7-2 record to close out the year, their inability to put points on the board still would have been good for just 19th in the NFL if prorated over the course of a full season.

Ultimately, Mike Tomlin's team wound up scoring just 18.1 points per game on the year -- a number that ranked 26th in the NFL and was just 1.2 points per game from being dead last in the league. With one of the youngest offenses in the NFL, it stands to reason that these numbers could soon improve. Regardless, investments clearly still need to be made on the offensive side of the football.

However, in the latest Steelers mock draft roundup, experts are mostly slotting defensive players to Pittsburgh with the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Here's a look at some of the most recent picks from NFL Draft experts.

Steelers mock draft roundup

Mel Kiper, ESPN (Subscription required): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Mel Kiper is hardly the first to jump on the Joey Porter Jr. bandwagon for the Pittsburgh Steelers (and he won't be the last). Kiper made this pick back during his January mock, and he's sticking to it.

When it comes to the Steelers positions of need and the fact that Cameron Sutton is an unrestricted free agent, it's clear that they need help at the position. Couple that with the fact that we are talking about the son of former Pittsburgh Pro Bowler, Joey Porter, and it just makes too much sense to ignore. He might be on to something here.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

I don't want to come down too hard on Chris Trapasso here. I can understand the logic, as Carter may slide a bit in the draft due to his recent arrest warrant and misdemeanor charges. However, the stud Georgia defensive lineman is a top-3 player in this class and he seems to be confident that he will be exonerated of any wrongdoing.

Still, character concerns are enough to make any good player fall, and Carter may not be the exception to the mold. If he does fall this far, it means that the issues are deeper than we realize and Pittsburgh may pass on him anyway. Carter would be an excellent talent that you almost never see fall to the 17th overall pick.

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Bucky Brooks is calling this one a feel-good story for Pittsburgh. While I would certainly hope that the Steelers wouldn't take a player just because of that, we all know how much Mike Tomlin values strong family bloodlines.

Penn State isn't far from home, and Pittsburgh's scouting department has no doubt gotten a great look at Joey Porter Jr. over the years. Porter has been the most frequently mocked player by the Steelers in the first round so far this offseason, according to the NFL Mock Draft Database.

Phil Perry, NBC Sports: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Of the recent Steelers mock drafts from major media outlets, NBC Sports has been the only mock to slate an offensive player to Pittsburgh with the 17th pick. Darnell Wright isn't considered the top offensive tackle prospect of this class, but he's a quality football player in his own right.

Wright is a physical player with a nasty demeanor that Phil Perry of NBC Sports thinks would be a great fit in Pittsburgh. This is a position that could clearly stand to be upgraded, and the Steelers have not invested enough resources here.

Next. Steelers fix plenty of their issues in the trenches in this lastest 2023 mock draft. . dark

We are still very early in the pre-draft process, but the results of the NFL Combine and what happens in free agency will clearly affect which players and positions will be mocked to the Pittsburgh Steelers as we draw closer to the 2023 NFL Draft.