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2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Draft Digest: Kelee Ringo Mock, Julius Brents Fit in Pittsburgh?



Steelers draft Georgia CB Kelee Ringo

The Steelers draft takes a new turn in a mock draft as they head down to Georgia, and one fit is named as an easy one to see at cornerback.

🏈: In a new mock draft done by the college football writers at the Athletic, the Steelers land athletic and highly-touted cornerback Kelee Ringo with their first-round selection. It certainly seems like cornerback is becoming more popular, but Ringo has become a bit more uncommon after feeling like a very popular pick a few months ago.

“The thought here was either offensive line or corner,” the writers wrote. “Most of the top offensive linemen were taken, so we’re betting on traits and athleticism here to continue the recent run on cornerbacks. Ringo is raw and will lose some battles in coverage, but he has the size and speed to win his fair share, too.”

That all makes plenty of sense and it could end up becoming true. Ringo is a high-upside pick that has the potential to become the alpha dog of the Steelers secondary. However, would they shy away from the rawer cornerbacks based on past experience? That would be the question with Ringo.

🏈: According to Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, scouts are buzzing about Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents after his standout performance at the Senior Bowl a few weeks ago. The 6-foot-3 cornerback has elite length, and that could be a key boost to his draft stock over the coming weeks. I was particularly impressed by how he used his length and press coverage. Oftentimes, he stifled receivers to the point where balls were either hail-mary attempts or just outright not thrown at all.

🏈: Speaking of Brents, Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network named a few fits for teams that he liked early in this process and one of those key fits was none other than Julius Brents. Why does he make so much sense for Pittsburgh? Brents has plenty of versatility in his coverage, is fluid enough to play off-man coverage, and is a polished product that does not have much more to learn. That’s the profile of cornerback I would imagine the Steelers might want out of this class with Ahkello Witherspoon’s status up in the air, and few fit that bill more than Brents.

🏈: During the Shrine Bowl, no one received a higher PFF pass-rushing grade than Pitt edge defender Habbakuk Baldonado during the week. Baldonado received an elite 91.7 grade with a 50% pass rush win rate over the week. Shrine Bowl director Eric Galko stated that Baldonado ‘should not get out of the Top-100’ after his impressive week in Las Vegas.

🏈: Todd McShay mocked the Steelers Christian Gonzalez, another top cornerback, but this time, out of Oregon. That comes as a little surprising given the location of where the Steelers usually try and draft from, however, Gonzalez was up there as the best player available with most of the top offensive linemen gone. Could he land with the Steelers? It is possible, and he certainly will land with all the measurements that they will love to have in their cornerbacks.