Steelers overkill the interior offensive line in latest three-round NFL mock draft
By Tommy Jaggi
April is just around the corner, which means NFL mock drafts are coming out in full force. With a much deeper view of this year's prospects, NFL analysts are starting to dive into multiple-round mocks in an effort to sure up the needs of teams -- many of which still have big holes around their roster.
Recently, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports conducted his initial three-round 2023 NFL mock draft. He could have had the Steelers going any number of directions with four selections in the first three rounds, but he chose to add overkill to the interior offensive line.
With the 17th overall pick, Trapasso slotted Peter Skoronski to Pittsburgh. This is a player who is often viewed as the best offensive lineman in the class, but some predict he could fall due to his concerningly short 32 1/4'' arms. Because of this, I view Skoronski as a guard at the next level. It will be up to each team to formulate their opinions on where he fits in the NFL.
In the second round, Trapasso has the Steelers going with North Carolina WR Josh Downs and Pitt DT Calijah Kancey before turning around and taking center John Michael Schmitz in round three. Considering their interior offensive line moves over the past two offseasons, this would be a very interesting selection.
Could Steelers actually overkill the IOL?
Don't rule out the idea of the Pittsburgh Steelers looking for a center as early as the 32nd overall pick this year. Omar Khan has scheduled top-30 visits with some of the best interior OL prospects in Steve Avila and John Michael Schmitz, so there is plenty of interest here. But overkilling the IOL like this would be a bit bizarre.
After signing James Daniels and Mason Cole during the 2022 offseason, the Steelers doubled up again on the IOL during the 2023 free agency period with Nate Herbig and Isaac Seumalo. The sudden depth along the interior offensive line means that Kendrick Green will undoubtedly be kicked off the roster, while two-year starter, Kevin Dotson, isn't even assured a roster spot.
That's before a draft like this. If this mock were to come to fruition and the Steelers add two offensive linemen like Peter Skoronski and John Michael Schmitz, what do you do with all of these guys? While you might have the best IOL depth in the league, this seems like overkill.
Now, assuming you view Skoronski as a long-term left tackle in the NFL, this mock makes much more sense. However, I can't get behind that. Skornonski's 32 1/4'' arms put him in the 4th percentile among NFL tackles. Over the past two years, he has allowed a whopping 26 pressures, and after observing all of his all-22 film, the lack of length and anchoring ability in pass sets is more than a little concerning.
If Skoronski is forced to be guard, this means that there wouldn't be enough roster spots for at least two of the players they invested in.
Though I'm certainly not opposed to loading up on the offensive trenches, I think it's important that the Pittsburgh Steelers find a true offensive tackle in the draft this year. If this scenario plays out in April, it would be like playing musical chairs with the interior offensive line.