Now that the NFL draft combine is over, it’s time for our Steelers mock draft 3.0. We can now start to piece together clues as to who this team may be interested in. Combining the testing scores, with who the team met with narrows the field down a bit. Let’s get started:
Round 1 (17) – Nolan Smith, LB Georgia:
H/W: 6’2” – 238lbs
Nolan Smith won the combine before the testing ever began. He was among the most impressive speakers at the interview sessions. Smith is a natural leader, to go along with his incredible measureables.
Nolan Smith spent his career at Georgia as an edge rusher. There are many who believe he is much better suited as an off-ball linebacker in the NFL however. He is a perfect fit to finally solve the Steelers black hole at inside linebacker. Smith is everything Pittsburgh wanted in Devin Bush from the neck up, and an even better athlete to boot. We can’t imagine him not completely winning over Mike Tomlin during their interview at the combine. Devin Bush: Steelers biggest draft bust?
Round 2 (32) – Mazi Smith, DT Michigan:
H/W: 6’3” – 323lbs
Arms: 33 3/4
Bench: 34 reps
Mazi Smith elected not to test at the combine other than to bang out the second most reps on the bench out of any position. There’s no denying his athleticism as he was a member of Bruce Feldman’s freak list heading into this season. https://theathletic.com/3488797/2022/08/10/college-football-freaks-list-2022/
Once Smith completes his testing at the Michigan pro day, expect his stock to rise dramatically. In a relatively weak defensive tackle class, Mazi Smith stands out.
Round 2 (49) – Cody Mauch NDU:
H/W: 6’5” – 302 lbs
Arms: 32 3/8”
Bench: 29 reps
Small school players aren’t usually the Steelers cup of tea this early in the draft. North Dakota St. has produced enough NFL talent now where they can not be overlooked. Cody Mauch can play all five positions along the offensive line, which would give the Steelers some much needed depth. He is thought of more as a guard prospect in the NFL, but tackle is not out of the question. We couldn’t leave our Steelers mock draft 3.0 without at least one offensive lineman.
Round 3 (80) DJ Turner, CB Michigan:
H/W: 5’11”, 178lbs
The Steelers take advantage of an extremely deep corner class and wait until the third round to fill this need. DJ Turner ran the fastest 40 yard dash in the entire combine, to go along with excellent jumping numbers. He will give the Steelers corner group a much needed boost in the speed department.
Round 4 (120) Zach Kuntz, TE Old Dominion:
H/W: 6’7”, 255lbs
Zack Kuntz wowed the combine with his athletic testing. His size, combined with that plus athleticism got the attention of the entire NFL. Tight end just happened to be a low key need for the Steelers. It’s no secret the team improved dramatically after the trade of Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh went with a more two tight end looks, helping the running game take off. Think of Kuntz as a far more athletic Zach Gentry.
Round 7 (236) Andrew Vorhees, G USC
H/W: 6’6”, 310lbs
Bench: 38 reps
This is purely speculation as to where Andrew Vorhees will fall after tearing his ACL at the combine. He was originally thought to be a mid round prospect on the interior line. With the potential of missing the entire 2023 season, where he ends up going is a bit of a mystery. If Vorhees is still around at this point, he would make an excellent gamble. Even with the injury, Vorhees managed put up with most reps on the bench in the entire combine.
Round 7 (243) Puka Nacua, WR BYU
H/W: 6’2”, 201
Puka Nacua did not attend the combine so we will have to wait until his pro day to get his measurables. He did have a very good Senior Bowl, even drawing some Hines Ward comps. He is a tough, physical receiver who may be best out of the slot. Certainly a worthwhile gamble this late in the draft.