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2022 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers look to add an athletic offensive tackle

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers look to add a quick left tackle who specializes in pass protection.

Arkansas v Mississippi State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the 2022 offseason. With free agency as the next big event to shape next season’s roster, it will be followed by the NFL draft in April. The Steelers will have a number of decisions with players who were on the 2021 roster and will have the opportunity to add some free agent acquisitions before making their first draft selection. With the NFL combine and player pro days appearing to be back on the table this in the coming months, there will hopefully be much more information in regards to draft prospects this year.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or quarterback with their first-round pick. Others feel defensive line or cornerback could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In the latest one-round mock draft by NFL.com, they have the Steelers addressing the offensive line before anything else. After struggling in the run game as well as not giving much time for the quarterback in the passing game, the Steelers are due for an upgrade at several positions. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the Steelers 20th pick:

20. Pittsburgh Steelers | Charles Cross | OT | Mississippi St.| RS Sophomore |

Being early in the draft process, there may be some players most fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Cross according to thedraftnetwork.com:

Charles Cross is a redshirt sophomore that has started the past two seasons for Mississippi State. Cross has logged more than 20 starts at LT for the Bulldogs. Cross is an exceptional athlete with a great initial first step that makes it difficult for edge rushers to beat him around the edge. He is a fluid athlete in the open field, making it easy to redirect and match defenders’ counter moves. In the NFL, Cross’ best position will be as a left tackle who can athletically match up with some of the best edge rushers in the NFL. Cross lacks the true strength at the point of attack to be a dominant run defender, but in the right offense, he will be a great pass protector.

Ideal Role: Starting left tackle (primary role to pass protect).

Scheme Fit: Zone-blocking scheme where his primary role is to cut off the backside of plays.

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Cross with their first pick? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position or a different one who may still be available? Personally, I think if the Steelers go for an offensive lineman in the first round, a move which I would be in favor of, I believe they would look more for a player to help in the run game. If they are going strictly left tackle, Cross does seem to be the type of player they would want. If that is the case, the Steelers would need to work the entire offseason with Dan Moore Jr. on moving to the right side. As for this particular mock draft, if a certain center from Iowa would still be available like he was here (a player who will hopefully be featured here eventually even though many mocks have him going much higher), I would be highly upset if that was not the Steelers’ choice.