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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Land Graham Barton, Jalen McMillan in New Mock Draft

In a new mock, Mel Kiper gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a talented center prospect in Graham Barton and tough WR in Jalen McMillan.



Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Washington WR Jalen McMillan

On Wednesday, ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper released a new mock draft, and the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up with two players that fit their top two needs at center and wide receiver. Kiper has the team selecting Duke’s Graham Barton at 20th overall and following that up at 51st overall with Washington wide receiver Jalen McMillan.

“Cornerback, wide receiver, center — I wouldn’t be surprised with any of these positions for Pittsburgh, which has made a few intriguing additions this offseason. The Steelers parted ways with starting pivot Mason Cole in February, and taking Barton, my top-ranked center, might even be an upgrade. Barton played center as a freshman but spent the past three seasons at left tackle for the Blue Devils, and I see his pro future along the interior. He allowed just three sacks over the past two seasons,” Kiper said on their first-round pick.

In the past Barton has played at left tackle and center, but he played at center in 2020. That is only one year of experience, though most teams say Barton will shift inside. The Steelers are unlikely to draft a guy who will project as a guard, so if they draft Barton, it will be because they view him as an interior offensive lineman or believe he can stick it out at tackle.

Barton showed out at his pro day. Scouts had him marked at between a 4.94 to 4.97 40-yard dash, while he posted a 4.55 20-yard Shuttle time and 7.31 3-Cone time at his size. In other words, Barton tested like an elite athlete. And that could absolutely boost his stock, especially with so many teams that need interior offensive linemen in the class. All of that makes him a possible pick at 20th overall, especially when he is five-position versatile.

As for the selection of McMillan, Kiper likes the fit for the Steelers.

“George Pickens is the Steelers’ clear No. 1 wideout with Diontae Johnson traded to Carolina, but who’s their No. 2? Van Jefferson? I’m not sold. If they can add a difference-maker in Round 2, Russell Wilson would have a really solid group of pass-catchers. McMillan was overshadowed by Rome Odunze at Washington, but he’s a dynamic slot receiver. He missed a few games with injury last season, but he had 1,098 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022,” Kiper said.

Mcmillan is a silky smooth operator with a keen understanding of how to attack the leverage of defenders. McMillan is a three-level threat out of the slot: an option route guru and dangerous when given a runway to work vertically. Injuries wiped out his entire 2023 season, but his tape as a junior further cements him as the most undervalued receiver in this entire class.