Now that we have had over a week to process not being in the post season, it’s time for our Steelers mock draft 2.0. There is still a long way to go before the actual NFL draft in late April. Certainly lots can, and will change between now and then. Having said that we do know the most pressing needs of the team, and their past tendencies. With that in mind, lets begin:
Round 1: Brian Bresee DT – Clemson:
There’s one of three ways the Steelers could go in the first round. Corner, offensive line, or defensive tackle as we did here. There is some thought that Bresee could go much higher than this, but we have also seen him fall to the bottom of the first round in some mocks.
Bresee has the exact mold Pittsburgh covets in a defensive tackle. He stands 6’5” and weighs in at 300lbs. He was a dominant defensive lineman for Clemson, winning the ACC defensive rookie of the year in 2021. Bresee tore his ACL in 2022 which caused him to miss all but four games that year. He did have a nice bounce back year in 2023 with 3.5 sacks, and 5.5 tackles for loss. Brian Bresee would make the perfect partner for Cam Heyward along the Steelers defensive line.
Round 2A: Antonio Johnson S – Texas A+M
For the purposes of our Steelers mock draft 2.0, we are going to go ahead and assume that the Steelers will bring back Cam Sutton this off-season. That means the need for corner won’t be as pressing as the rest of us think. What Antonio Johnson brings is the kind of versatile safety/slot corner this team needs most in the secondary. He has above average size at 6’3” and 200lbs, and was an elite run defender out of the secondary. Johnson even played a little linebacker at Texas A+M in 2022. This is the perfect player for the type of football we see in the AFC North.
Round 2B: Drew Sanders LB – Arkansas
Haven’t heard of Drew Sanders yet? Remember the name come the NFL combine. Sanders was a transfer from Alabama where he played on the edge. After transferring to Arkansas, the moved him to inside linebacker where he flourished. A 6’6” linebacker with plus athleticism, Sanders is an physical freak. In his final season, Drew Sanders had 63 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 9.5 sacks, and one interception.
Round 3: Parker Washington WR – Penn St.
One of the biggest weaknesses of the Steelers offense in 2022 was the inability to create big plays. Parker Washington represents just that type of player for them in 2023. A slot receiver, and overall offensive weapon who would flourish on the jet sweep heavy Matt Canada offense. He may also be able to finally solve this team’s long standing returner need as well.
Round 4: Andrew Raym C – Oklahoma
As good a story as Mason Cole was in 2022, this team will eventually have to find a long term solution at center, Andrew Raym fits the profile of a Steelers offensive lineman. He is big (6’4” 315lbs), and is an excellent athlete for his position. He would start out as some much needed depth, and could possibly win the starting center job at some point in 2023.
Round 7A: Riley Moss CB – Iowa
When scouring the bottom end of the draft for seventh round prospects, we found a corner who made Bruce Feldman’s annual freaks list. https://theathletic.com/3488797/2022/08/10/college-football-freaks-list-2022/
Moss is a former high school track star with elite athleticism. He’s been clocked in the low 4.4s in the forty yard dash. He also is on record with a 42 inch vertical, and 10’8” broad. Combine that with 11 career interceptions at Iowa, and you have an excellent late round flyer at corner.
Round 7B: Zion Nelson OT – Miami
Unlike in our mock draft 1.0, we waited until the very last pick to add tackle depth. Steelers mock draft 1.0: The way, way too early version
Nelson is a good athlete for the position, and a worthwhile flyer for the Steelers this late in the draft.