We know what you’re thinking. The Pittsburgh Steelers have several holes to fill this off-season, and wide receiver is very low on that list. We are going to make the case that drafting Jordan Addison in round one makes all the sense in the world:
1. The Steelers are ok with their offensive line:
Like it or not, Mike Tomlin and company are very much ok with the state of this team’s offensive line. The improvement in the running game was largely due to this group coming together as a unit. We have a very strong feeling the Steelers brass feel like this can continue into 2023. All this is to say they are very unlikely to draft one early on this time around. It is likely they will add a player or two to the line later on in the draft, but not in round one.
2. This is a poor DT group in the draft:
Once you get past the all world Jalen Carter in the 2023 draft, the drop off is immense. There may not even be another round one talent in the entire group. While defensive tackle is a significant need for the defense, the Steelers would be reaching to select one at 17. Cross defensive tackle off as a possible position in round one as well.
3. The corner group is deep enough in the draft:
The Steelers do have a major need at corner, but that’s ok because this may be the deepest corner group in years. There could be no less than 6 corners taken in round one, with even more deserving to go that early. Pittsburgh could get a real talent at pick 32 if they decided to go in that direction. Not to mention it is very likely Cam Sutton will be back in 2023. Meaning this team will already have it’s starters in place before the draft starts. Steelers free agents: The case for and against re-signing Cam Sutton
4. The Kenny factor:
We all know the bond Kenny Pickett had with Jordan Addison during their time together at Pitt. The two formed a lethal combination that made them each first round caliber players. Addison’s final year with Pickett was incredible. He went for 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021. Reuniting these two makes all the sense in the world. Drafting Jordan Addison would give the Steelers their version of Burrow/Chase, albeit a level down from that pair.
5. This receiver room is thin:
Does anyone want to see a Steven Sims/Gunner Olszewski as the team’s primary slot receivers again in 2023? The other option would be the invisible man Calvin Austin III. A receiver who’s only plus trait is speed, coming off a foot injury that cost him an entire season does not fill us with confidence. Receiver is in fact a major need for this team.
6. Offense wins championships:
The phrase “defense wins championships” just does not apply to 2023 NFL football. Rules changes over the years have made this far and away an offensive driven league. If the Steelers hope to keep up with teams like the Bengals, Chiefs, Bills, and Jaguars, they will have to build a team that can score with them.
Drafting a wide receiver in the first round seems counterintuitive for a team with so many other needs on the surface. But when you consider all the reasons we have listed above, it starts to make a whole lot of sense. The combination of value, need, and circumstance all lead to making Jordan Addison this team’s first round pick. Whether or not he Steelers agree with this line of thinking remains to be seen.