After a busy free agency period that welcomed players such as Patrick Peterson, Cole Holcomb, and Isaac Seumalo, the Steelers remaining needs entering the 2023 NFL Draft include a starting offensive tackle, cornerback, a wide receiver, and depth inside of the defense’s front seven. Dane Brugler of The Athletic predicted all 259 picks in his new seven-round mock draft, and the Steelers were able to find some major help in areas of need.
With the Steelers’ first-round selection, Brugler predicted that Pittsburgh will keep bloodlines close and draft Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with pick No. 17.
“This pairing would be another entertaining story given the Porter bloodlines, but obviously this pick is more than that. Though the Steelers added veteran Patrick Peterson this offseason, the chance to add a young, long and promising corner would be an upgrade for the present and future,” wrote Brugler.
If the Steelers draft him, Porter would enter the season behind Patrick Peterson and would have the opportunity to learn from the future Hall of Famer.
Brugler predicted that the Steelers will finish the overhaul of their offensive line in round two of the draft by having the team use both selections on offensive linemen. While tackle is more of an immediate need than guard after the signings of Seumalo and Nate Herbig, Brugler predicted that the Steelers will draft Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence with pick No. 32.
“Torrence is a player the Steelers likely will consider at No. 17, and they would jump at the value of drafting him here. Pittsburgh wants to commit to the run game with people movers upfront. Torrence certainly fits that mold,” wrote Brugler.
With the team’s second pick in round two, Brugler predicted that the Steelers will take Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones. Tomlin’s interest in Jones has not gone without notice and with the tackle’s up-and-down offseason, there is a fair chance that Jones makes it to pick No. 49.
Brugler has the Steelers addressing the defensive line in the third round with the team selecting Baylor’s Siaki Ika.
Ika would slot in as the Steelers nose tackle in a defense that struggled against the run over the past few seasons. The 6-foot-3 defensive tackle has struggled with weight in his career but if he is able to control it, Ika could pan out to be a solid starter in the future.
In the fourth round of Brugler’s mock, the Steelers selected Charlie Jones with pick No. 120, a wide receiver out of Purdue.
Jones is a receiver who would thrive in the Steelers short-yardage passing attack. While Jones does not possess top-end speed, he can feast as a zone-beater. Jones also excelled in punt and kick return duties. He took a pre-draft visit with the Steelers.
The Steelers do not own a pick in the fifth or sixth rounds but possess two in the seventh round.
With pick No. 234, Brugler predicted the Steelers take running back/fullback Hunter Luepke out of North Dakota State.
“The Steelers are one of the few teams interested in having a talent like Luepke in their offense. Derek Watt is unsigned, and if Pittsburgh doesn’t move Connor Heyward to this type of role, Luepke would be a great fit because of his pass-catching skills and potential special-teams impact,” wrote Brugler.
Brugler rounded the Steelers draft out by having the Steelers select Georgia’s Robert Beal Jr. with pick No. 241.
Beal is a 6-foot-4 edge rusher that broke onto the scene at Georgia in 2021 as a junior. Beal helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back National Championships as he finished with 9.5 sacks in the past two seasons. He also took a pre-draft visit with the Steelers.