Connect with us

2023 NFL Draft

Mel Kiper Doubles Down on Steelers 1st Rd WR Mock, Even after Robinson Trade



Steelers 2023 NFL Draft Boston College WR Say Flowers

The Pittsburgh Steelers just added Allen Robinson II to the wide receiver room via trade, yet ESPN’s Mel Kiper still predicted that the Steelers will still select a wide receiver in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft in his latest mock draft.

Kiper and Todd McShay alternated picks throughout the three-round mock draft which resulted in Kiper selecting the Steelers’ first-round pick. Kiper predicted that the Steelers will select Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers with pick No. 17.

“Flowers can play inside or outside, and he can make defenders miss after the catch,” wrote Kiper. “The Steelers are adding Allen Robinson via trade, but he’s a much different receiver than Flowers. This deal doesn’t change Pittsburgh’s need, and I could see it still adding Flowers here.”

Flowers caught 12 touchdowns to go along with 78 receptions and 1,077 yards in his final year at Boston College. Flowers did not have a pre-draft visit with the Steelers. The Steelers have not drafted a wide receiver in the first round since Santonio Holmes in 2006.

With pick No. 32, McShay predicted that the Steelers will keep the Alabama-to-Pittsburgh pipeline alive by selecting safety/cornerback Brian Branch.

“I really love Branch’s versatility. Pittsburgh could line him up over the slot as a rookie, before dropping him to safety down the road,” wrote McShay.

As a junior, Branch was awarded as a second-team Associated Press All-American after racking up 14 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, and seven pass breakups. Branch did not attend a pre-draft visit with the Steelers.

RELATED: Steelers Get Elite Left Tackle in New Mock Draft

Kiper predicted that the Steelers will address the offensive line by picking Anton Harrison out of Oklahoma with pick No. 49. Harrison is usually mocked closer to the start of round two, so the chances that he makes it to No. 49 are pretty slim.

“I actually had this pairing at No. 32 overall in my two-round mock draft. Harrison could immediately challenge Dan Moore Jr. for the starting left tackle spot,” wrote Kiper.

Harrison could challenge Moore for the starting left tackle role but could also take Chukwuma Okorafor’s job at right tackle. In 2022, Harrison started 11 games at left tackle and one at right tackle. The Steelers hosted Harrison on a pre-draft visit on April 5.

McShay mocked that the Steelers will select inside linebacker Daiyan Henley out of Washington State with pick No. 80. The 23-year-old has explosive speed and average coverage skills.

“After Devin Bush didn’t work out in Pittsburgh, the Steelers signed Cole Holcomb in March. But the linebacker depth isn’t great, and Henley has the burst to make plays,” wrote Kiper.

Henley filled the stat sheet up in 2022 as he totaled 102 total tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one interception. Henley’s big-play potential would benefit the defense as the Steelers’ linebackers did not create any turnovers in 2022.

Steelers Now in Your Mailbox!

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts in your mailbox.

Subscribe Today!