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2024 NFL Draft

Analyst Thinks Steelers Shouldn’t Hesitate if Byron Murphy is Available at 20th Overall



Pittsburgh Steelers Byron Murphy

Offensive tackle, center and wide receiver are the most glaring needs for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2024 NFL Draft, but defensive line is also a sneaky top priority. With Cam Heyward turning 35 in May and Larry Ogunjobi having a down year last season, it can’t be overlooked.

CBS Sports draft analyst Ryan Wilson thinks Texas defensive lineman Byron Murphy would be a can’t miss selection for the Pittsburgh Steelers if he’s available at 20th overall.

“If he’s there at 20? The Steelers should knock over anyone in their way to take him,” Wilson said during an interview with Joe Starkey on 93.7 The Fan. “Is it a glaring need? No, but Cam Heyward’s not gonna play forever. Keeanu Benton did a really good job as a rookie last year. The thing with Byron is he weighs about 292 and he played next to T’Vondre Sweat, who weighs 360. They had Byron playing over center at times last year at Texas, but he’ll play more likely over the guard or in the A or B gap and be a guy who creates all sorts of problems.

“He can consistently win versus double teams. And to your point, if you’re collapsing the pocket, it makes things a lot easier for guys named T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. He’s a special player.”

Murphy met formally with the Steelers at the NFL Combine, and as a projected top-15 pick, that raises some eyebrows.

Murphy is a 6-foot-1, 308-pound defensive lineman who is thought of by many as either the best defensive lineman in the class or one of the best, but he is a consensus first-round pick. He brings an explosive first step and significant pass rush upside despite questions about his schematic versatility up front and his size. Murphy is expected to be long gone by the time the Steelers pick at 20, but the fact that they are doing diligence on him at least means they are interested.

Derrick Bell of Steelers Now thinks it will come down to a “best player available” scenario if Murphy is still on the board when the Steelers pick at 20th overall. Murphy’s definitely worthy of the 20th overall pick and has tremendous upside as a pro.

The last time the Steelers selected a Texas Longhorn in the first round was nose tackle Casey Hampton in 2001. Murphy certainly has some similar attributes as Hampton, especially in size and strength.