It’s never too early for a Steelers mock draft right? Well maybe it is, but hey we’re going to do our first one anyway. At the very least it is a good exercise to match the 2023 NFL draft prospects to Pittsburgh’s needs going into next season. So without further ado, here is the Steelers Sanctuary mock draft version 1.0:
Round 1: Broderick Jones OT – Georgia
There are several positions you could point to as the Steelers biggest need come the 2023 NFL draft. In our opinion, left tackle stands out as the number one priority. This team has not taken a tackle in the first round since 1997. It’s a whole new cast in the Steelers front office now, so we can expect a somewhat different approach going forward.
Broderick Jones has caught our eye on several occasions just casually watching Georgia football. He combines a huge frame with above average athleticism to make himself one of the premiere tackles in this class. Move over Dan Moore, the left tackle position just got upgraded.
Round 2a: Siaki Ika DT – Baylor
A giant run-stuffing defensive tackle with the athletic ability to provide an interior pass rush? Sign us up. Siaki Ika is 6’4”, and 360 pounds, with a fair bit of athletic ability. This is exactly what the interior of the Steelers defensive line is missing. Ika is not just a run defender, he has the ability to be a three down player on this defense.
Round 2b: Darnell Washington TE – Georgia
Sure the Steelers have far greater needs, but as far as draft value goes this is a no-brainer. Washington’s 6’7” frame is a quarterback’s dream in the redzone. A two tight end combination of Washington and Pat Freiermuth would be devastating duo. This absolutely needs to happen!
Round 3: Owen Pappoe LB – Auburn
As much as we hate to admit it, the Steelers will once again be dropping assets into the inside linebacker position. It’s almost certain that Devin Bush will not be back in 2023, leaving a big hole at this position. Pappoe is an athletic tackling machine for Auburn. He has 91 tackles in 2022, and ran 4.4/40 coming out of high school.
Round 4: DJ Johnson EDGE – Oregon:
We thought about going corner here, but the need for a third edge rusher seems more pressing. DJ Johnson has an explosive first step, to go along with a big frame (6’4” 260). He is a former tight end who made the transition to outside linebacker. We had edge rusher as a top five need in our post earlier this month: Top five Steelers draft needs for 2023
Round 7a: Jaylon Jones CB – Texas A+M
Jones is a tall corner with quit a bit of athletic ability. He makes for a good late round flyer at the corner position.
Round 7b: Tykee Smith S – Georgia:
We go to the Georgia well one last time for safety Tykee Smith. A solid tackler, and a decent safety prospect here. At the very least Smith should make for a good special teams player for the Steelers.
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