The Steelers shock the NFL with their first pick in this seven-round mock draft

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Omar Khan’s first NFL Draft as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ General Manager is a crucial one. The Steelers have needs at key positions on both sides of the ball, and with seven draft picks — including five in the top 120 — they should be able to address most of their issues.

But in what order will the Steelers do so? Khan added starters and solid reserves at some positions during free agency, but he noticeably didn't really address offensive tackle, slot cornerback, or backup edge rusher. Yes, Khan signed free agent offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark, but he's predicted to be a backup swing tackle.

Do the Steelers already believe they have their starting tackles in Dan Moore, Jr. and Chuks Okorafor, who combined to start all 17 games last season at left and right tackle respectively? Does that continuity, which provided an opportunity for growth, trump a rookie who could become an all-pro starter for a decade?

The Steelers are set with starting outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, but there's little proven depth behind them. We all saw the impact Watt's injury had on the defense last season, and Highsmith is going into a contract year. Not to mention that the Steelers often use a four-man rotation to keep their edge rushers fresh. Therefore, a backup to Watt and Highsmith may be in order with one of the Steelers' first three draft choices.

Then there's the slot corner position, arguably a more pressing need than outside cornerback after the signing of veteran Patrick Peterson during the off-season. If you pencil him in at one outside corner and have Levi Wallace and a healthy Ahkello Witherspoon battle it out for CB2, slot corner is a bigger need considering the high-performing quarterbacks of the AFC. The Steelers return Arthur Maulet to that role but will be missing the services of departed free-agent cornerback Cam Sutton, who often played on the inside.

If you look back to the Steelers' draft history, the most productive draft picks have usually come in rounds 1-4. Thus, it’s imperative that Khan gets the most out of his five selections in that range. This entire group doesn’t have to be starters, but they do have to be able to push the incumbents for playing time as rookies.

And that's why I present to you my first and only 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft, based on who I think the Steelers will draft if they're available. I've included other possibilities if they're not, as well as a surprise choice in each round.