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2024 NFL Draft

Locked On Steelers: How Will Payton Wilson Fit in Defense?

Locked On Steelers Podcast: How will 2024 NFL Draft pick Payton Wilson fit into the Pittsburgh Steelers defense?

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Pittsburgh Steelers Payton Wilson

The Pittsburgh Steelers got what looks like a draft steal when NC State linebacker Payton Wilson fell to them at pick No. 98 in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The dynamic Wolfpack playmaker was one of the most productive linebackers in college football last season, winning the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the country, the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player, and was a consensus All-American.

Wilson also tested off the charts in the pre-draft process for an athlete of his size. The 6-foot-3 7/8, 233-pound linebacker ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, a 4.2-second shuttle, and a 6.85-second three-cone drill, showing elite high-end speed and agility. That made Wilson something of a draft unicorn, but now that he’s with the Steelers, it’ll be up to the coaching staff to figure out how he fits into the rest of the team’s defense and linebackers room.

The Steelers didn’t have an obvious need at the linebacker position, having already signed Patrick Queen and bringing Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb back, so they have the ability to be patient with the development of Wilson.

Alan Saunders joined Chris Carter on the Locked On Podcast to discuss how Wilson fits into the defense. Plus, they broke down what the potential pitfalls are for the Steelers defense this season, what positions they still could upgrade, and what young players are potential breakout stars.

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