PITTSBURGH — Just three days before the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft board is wide open.
Not in the sense that the Steelers don’t know who they’d like to pick — thousands of hours of flying to college all-star games, the NFL Combine, pro days, and hosting draft visits in person and on Zoom have provided the Steelers brass with all of the information they need to put the prospects in their order of preference.
But in terms of how the draft might fall and who they might take, the Steelers are keeping things open, and for good reason.
The Steelers were extremely active in free agents, bringing in potential starters at wide receiver, guard, inside linebacker and cornerback while also retaining potentially departing starters at defensive tackle and safety.
The end result is a draft board where the Steelers have the freedom to go in any number of different directions, depending on where the best value lies.
“We’ve been able to do some things in free agency that I really feel like provides a clean slate for us from a draft perspective,” head coach Mike Tomlin said in his final pre-draft press conference alongside GM Omar Khan on Monday. “We don’t have any glaring needs and so we’re able to look at the board in totality and not be swayed inappropriately in any specific way.”
Tomlin also said that between him and Khan, he feels like he’s talked to more draft prospects in this class than he has any in the past.
“We have turned some stones over, I’ll tell you that. We probably need to do that (math),” Tomlin said. “We’ve touched more guys in this process than we have in any process than I’ve been a part of.”
Part of the reason for that has been some bleed-over of COVID-era processes that have remained. This week, the Steelers are doing pre-draft visits via Zoom above and beyond the 30 that they could bring to Pittsburgh.
But the wide-open draft board also plays a part. Last year, the Steelers were laser-focused on drafting a quarterback in the first round. This year, there’s a half-dozen positions the Steelers could take in that slot.
That means more potential draft targets and more to prepare for Tomlin, Khan and company.