If the season ended now, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have the 10th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. With Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Saints, the Steelers went from having the third overall pick in next year’s draft to being slotted at No. 10 overall. The Philadelphia Eagles possess the fourth overall pick, as they have the Saints’ first-round selection.
The Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) have the fifth overall pick, followed by the Chicago Bears (3-7) at No. 6, Detroit Lions at No. 7 (via trade with the Los Angeles Rams), Seattle Seahawks at No. 8 (via trade with the Denver Broncos) and Houston Texans at No. 9 (via trade with the Cleveland Browns).
The Steelers currently stand at 3-6, and their schedule lightens up in the second half. In their remaining games, the Steelers only play two teams who currently have a winning record — the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens (twice). The rest of their opponents — the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders and Browns have a combined record of 16-31.
The Steelers finished with an 8-8 record the last two times that they’ve started a season at 2-6 (2006, 2013). The 2019 Steelers also started 1-4, but undrafted rookie quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges managed to lead Pittsburgh to an 8-8 record. Mike Tomlin-coached teams simply don’t quit. There’s a reason why he’s never had a losing season in the 15 years that he’s been the Steelers’ head coach.
At the same time, Tomlin had future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in all those years, minus the 2019 season. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the eight remaining games for the Steelers. While most Steelers fans want to see their team do well, there’s also a good portion of the fanbase who would like to see them bottom out and get a top-5 pick. Basically, they want to break the cycle of drafting in the low 20s or middle and be stuck in mediocrity.
Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter are two prospects that are considered to be can’t-miss picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson, Penn State offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu and Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo are also three players who would fit needs on the Steelers’ roster. All three are projected to be top-10 picks. C.J. Stroud of Ohio State and Bryce Young of Alabama are the top quarterback prospects, but there’s a good chance that they’ll be the first and second overall picks. And it’s hard to imagine the Steelers being that bad, plus they drafted Kenny Pickett at 20th overall in this past year’s draft.
Brentley Weissman of the Draft Network has the Steelers selecting Fashanu at 10th overall in his latest mock draft.
“The Steelers have needed to upgrade their offensive line for the past few years and do so here. Fashanu is one of the most intriguing players in this entire class,” Weissman wrote. “At just 20 years old, Olu Fashanu is oozing with upside. He has excellent size and length, movement skills, and plays with a physical temperament. If he keeps developing, look for him to be one of the better tackles in the NFL.”
The Steelers haven’t had a top-5 pick in the draft since 1970, when they selected Terry Bradshaw with the first overall pick. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the Steelers have had just four top-10 draft picks — Terry Bradshaw (1970), Frank Lewis (1971), Tim Worley (1989) and Plaxico Burress (2000). Bradshaw was the last top-5 pick. The Steelers traded up to 10th overall to select Devin Bush in 2019.