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2024 NFL Draft

Mel Kiper Picks Wide Receiver for Steelers in Latest Mock Draft



Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Combine 2024 NFL Draft Target LSU WR Brian Thomas
LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. sees the Pittsburgh Steelers going in a different direction in the 2024 NFL Draft, now that the team has acquired quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields and traded away star wide receiver Diontae Johnson.

After picking a cornerback with the No. 20 overall selection in each of his first two mock drafts this year, Kiper now has the Steelers zeroing in on an offensive weapon and taking LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. with their first-round pick.

“Just a few weeks ago, at the NFL combine, here’s what Steelers general manager Omar Khan said to reporters about quarterback Kenny Pickett: “I have full faith in Kenny.” A lot has changed since then, huh?” Kiper wrote. “Pickett was traded to the Eagles after Pittsburgh signed Russell Wilson, and then the team traded a conditional Day 3 pick in 2025 for Justin Fields, completing a total overhaul of the QB depth chart. For new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to really thrive, though, the Steelers should add a replacement for wideout Diontae Johnson, who was traded to Carolina.

‘Thomas, who ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the combine, has a tremendous blend of speed and size (6-foot-3). He caught 17 touchdown passes last season, leading the FBS. Pittsburgh had just 13 total touchdown passes in 2023. Thomas and George Pickens could form an exciting pass-catching duo.”

The Steelers had a formal meeting with Thomas at the 2024 NFL Combine, showing interest in the big LSU receiver. Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni helped run the individual workouts for the wide receivers. The Tigers pro day is on Wednesday, March 27, and it will be interesting to see if either Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin or general manager Omar Khan decided to sneak away from the NFL Owner’s Meetings in Orlando a day early to scout Thomas one more time in person. The Steelers have traditionally selected their first-round draft picks from players that their head coach and/or general manager has scouted in person.