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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Land WR in Ex-NFL GM’s New Mock Draft



Texas Wide Receiver Adonai Mitchell

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hinted at the NFL owner’s meetings on Sunday that the wide receiver position most likely will be addressed in the draft. This year’s draft is loaded at receiver, and it’s a position that the Steelers typically do well at in the mid-to-late rounds. The last time the Steelers selected a wide receiver in the first round was Santonio Holmes out of Ohio State in 2006.

Could this be the year that the Steelers break the nearly 20-year-streak and draft a receiver in the first round? Former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum thinks so. He has the Steelers selecting Texas wide receiver Adonai Mitchell at 20th overall in his latest mock draft.

“The Steelers have dramatically overhauled their QB position with Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, but they also recently traded Diontae Johnson and could use a standout receiver opposite George Pickens. Mitchell had a standout season at Texas after transferring from Georgia, averaging 15.4 yards per catch and scoring 11 TDs. He can fly at 6-2, running a 4.34 at the combine, and I really like this fit,” Tannenbaum wrote.

Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni was at Texas’ pro day to see Mitchell, Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington.

Mitchell is an incredibly deceptive route runner who can create space for himself with regularity. There’s plenty of nuance to his game, as he’ll use head fakes, jab steps and rocker steps to sell defenders lies. His feet are light on contact and he can vary his pace to lull defenders to sleep before exploding out his breaks. Mitchell can be best described as a loose athlete, with surprising explosiveness and long strides once he is able to fully open his hips.

“From a Steelers perspective, the interest in Mitchell is particularly intriguing. He profiles as a starting-caliber wide out that should see significant playing time on the outside even as a rookie with the Steelers,” Derrick Bell of Steelers Now wrote in his draft profile on Mitchell. “If you want to get the most out of Mitchell, get him in a situation with a quarterback who is willing to throw the ball down the field and hit him on in-breakers such as slants and dig routes over the middle.

“This receiver class is flushed with talent, offering just about every single skill set or trait that you could possible dream of. Mitchell won’t turn 22-years old until midway through his rookie season and he absolutely has significant potential in due time. There’s an argument to be made that he could be the best player available if he did indeed slide all the way to pick 51. Receiver is now firmly considered a premier position and Mitchell’s smooth game is going to make him a highly coveted prospect and impactful player at the next level.”

The last time the Steelers selected a Texas Longhorn in the first round was nose tackle Casey Hampton in 2001, who ended up being a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion. The last time the Steelers drafted a Texas wide receiver was Limas Sweed in 2008.