We are now full on into draft season in the NFL calendar. The Senior Bowl happened last Saturday, and the combine is just weeks away. That means it’s time for our first version of Steelers first round pick in five tries. We will do a couple more of these as the off-season progresses, but now is a good time to get our early feelings on where this team might go in round one. Here’s our early list of five candidates we think might be this team’s first round selection:
1. Brian Bresee DT – Clemson
There is no question that defensive tackle is among the Steelers top needs heading into this off-seaon. This could change depending on whether or not the team brings back Larry Ogunjonbi. Brian Bresee is the last chance Pittsburgh will have at a first round talent defensive tackle in this draft. After him, it seems like quite the drop off. Check out our deeper breakdown on him here: Steelers mock draft 1.0: The way, way too early version
2. Drew Sanders LB – Arkansas
The PTSD of drafting a linebacker in the first round still lingers for most Steelers fans after the Devin Bush debacle. That might be true with some in the front office as well. Be that as it may, this team once again has a giant hole in at that position. It seems pretty likely at this point if the Steelers want Sanders, they will have to take him at 17. The athletic 6’5” linebacker out of Arkansas is getting some major draft buzz. Lance Zierlien has gone as far as having him go 8th in his latest mock. That may be a little rich, but Sanders is now almost a surefire first round pick. https://www.nfl.com/news/lance-zierlein-2023-nfl-mock-draft-1-0-buccaneers-select-tom-brady-s-successor
3. Darnell Wright OT – Tennessee
We’re not too sure the Steelers will go offensive line early in this draft. Our gut feeling is that this team is pretty happy with their starting five going into 2023. If they do decide to go this route, it will be hard to pass up Tennessee’s tackle prospect Darnell Wright. Wright was a stand out at the Senior Bowl practices, and is a major talent in this draft. He is 6’6”, 335 pounds, and is a plus athlete at the position. Watch his battles with Will Anderson, this draft’s number one edge rusher here: https://youtu.be/YwO3qlvSyPg
4. Devon Witherspoon CB – Illinois:
Corner is undoubtedly the deepest position in this draft. Which means the Steelers should be able to find the best value drafting this position in the first round. Lots of mocks have Joey Porter Jr. going to Pittsburgh in round one. If Devon Witherspoon is still on the board however, he is easily the choice. Fast, athletic, and extremely physical Witherspoon would be a perfect fit for this defense. The only question is whether or not he lasts until pick 17. Lots of publications have Witherspoon as CB1 on their draft boards.
5. Jordan Addison WR – USC
We are all aboard the Steelers first round pick being a wide receiver at this point. The combination of value, fit, and need all have this making all the sense in the world. Reuniting Addison and Kenny Pickett would do wonders for his growth as a quarterback. Not to mention what adding a big time weapon would do for this offense. Don’t sleep on Addison to the Steelers in round one come April.