Steelers mock draft roundup: Major NFL analyst throws a confusing curveball

Steelers, Zay Flowers
Steelers, Zay Flowers / Maddie Malhotra/GettyImages

We are approaching the two-week mark until the start of the 2023 NFL Draft, and analysts are scrambling to throw their boards together. In the midst of the rush to scout as much as possible until April 27th, major networks are also pushing out their updated mock drafts.

The Pittsburgh Steelers could obviously go in a number of directions with the 17th overall pick this year. While some familiar faces keep popping up in recent mock drafts (for obvious reasons) one of the biggest NFL Draft analysts has them going off-script with a somewhat confusing curveball in the middle of the first round. Here's the latest Steelers mock draft roundup.

Steelers mock draft roundup

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN (Subscription required): Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Mel Kiper Jr. has been pretty much on brand when it comes to players mocked to Pittsburgh this offseason -- typically mocking a cornerback or offensive tackle -- but this one is a bit unusual. Zay Flowers technically fits the bill of what the Steelers typically look for at wide receiver, and unlike other teams, they don't have a lot of size restrictions when it comes to the WR position (Flowers is 9'9 1/4'', 182 pounds).

However, Pittsburgh's brass did not meet with Flowers at his Boston College Pro Day, nor did they bring in the shifty wide receiver for a pre-draft visit. Yes, this team could use more explosive playmakers on offense and Flowers would give them a spark, but the Steelers just haven't expressed much interest in him this offseason.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Back to the obvious selection. With rumors that Joey Porter Jr. could slip a bit in the first round, this still feels like the most likely pick of the Steelers. The connections are blatantly obvious. Porter is long, physical, and gritty, and he fills a pretty big position of need. He checks a lot of boxes the team looks for, and it certainly doesn't hurt that his father is a former Steelers Pro Bowl defender.

Adam Hermann, NBC Sports: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Another Porter selection -- this time from NBC Sports. Porter has been the most popular selection to Pittsburgh from the beginning of the pre-draft process and that remains the case today. According to NFL Mock Draft Database, Joey Porter Jr. is mocked to the Steelers at pick 17 nearly twice as much as the next highest player, which is Georgia OT, Broderick Jones.

Jack McKessy, The Draft Network: OT Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

This one has me running through a brick wall. Paris Johnson is a true left tackle prospect with great size, elite length, and impressive foot quickness. He projects as a long-time starter at the next level and happens to play one of the most important positions in football. Johnson would be a significant upgrade over Dan Moore Jr. from day one, but this seems like a pipedream without a trade-up.

Next. NFL mock draft 2.0: Steelers think outside the box. dark