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2024 NFL Draft

Nate Wiggins Emerges as Legitimate Option for Steelers First-Round Pick

Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins is emerging as a legitimate option for the Pittsburgh Steelers at 20th overall.



Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers could go any number of directions in the 2024 NFL Draft, but some obvious candidates are emerging that the team could like at 20th overall. Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims remains the favorite for the pick, and rightfully so since he has the trifecta of interest from the NFL Combine to Pro Day to now an official 30 visit.

Before Thursday, he stood alone in that mark of players who checked all three boxes. But he no longer stands alone. Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins checks all of the boxes from the team for their interest level, too. The team met with him formally at the NFL Combine. Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin were at his pro day, and they took him out to dinner the night before his pro day. Lastly, Wiggins is now in Pittsburgh for an official 30 visit.

In other words, he checks every box the Steelers have long held regarding their first-round picks. And he fits the mold of what they would want since Wiggins is an absolute speed demon with some high-level tape. And cornerback is still a need. Wiggins has the frame that could see him as versatile inside-out, though he did not play on the inside as much as someone like Terrion Arnold. But it feels like he could do that.

Wiggins is a fluid, ball-hawking cornerback that fits well in most defenses. On Clemson’s tape, they often played him toward the boundary, and he rose to challenges throughout their games. It sticks out just how smart Wiggins is on tape, too, as he can drop back in zone coverage and make impressive plays through his route recognition. At 6-foot-2, Wiggins has both good size and length, and thus, versatility to walk up a bit on receivers and get physical with him, but he is only 185 pounds, and that can lead to some issues.

His frame is a bit light, and while it’s not as bad as someone like Emmanuel Forbes from last year, he can still have some reps where he gets bullied in the screen game or against the run. Still, he shows an appetite to compete on the field, and has noticeably put effort into improving his tackling, especially on plays in space. He is a worthy pick at 20th overall, and would fit well across from Joey Porter Jr.

The value at cornerback makes sense for the Steelers, even with pressing needs at wide receiver and center. It seems like a lot of legwork is being put into this cornerback class, and Wiggins has to be considered a top candidate at this point.