clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 NFL Draft Preview, Week 7: Are future Steelers playing in the Penn State/Michigan rivalry?

Multiple future Steelers could be playing in the Penn State vs. Michigan matchup, which headlines a great slate of Week 7 games.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Championship-Iowa vs Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft is still months in the distance, but with college football having arrived, the beginning stages of the 2023 draft process has begun. With that in mind, it is time to dive into this week’s biggest games in the college football world, taking a look at potential Steelers draft targets to pay attention to during their respective games.

Offensive line is definitely an area the Steelers need to address, and the most likely resource for the solution is indeed the draft. Concerns at cornerback and linebacker also loom large over the Pittsburgh’s head. Although we will certainly break down prospects at other positions this season as well, these will be the primary positions of emphasis.

Nearly every week during the season, there are several highlight games that steal the headlines, but even when these games overshadow the rest of the college football landscape, we will not be negligent of the other games and prospects in action. Every week during the season, we will recap the previous week’s action and determine whose stock rose the most as it pertains to the NFL Draft.

As always, be sure to share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, but without further adieu, here are the top prospects and games to keep an eye on this Saturday.

#10 Penn State vs. #5 Michigan — Noon ET on FOX

Penn State Spotlight: Joey Porter, Jr. — CB (6’2”, 195 lbs); PJ Mustipher (6’4”, 329 lbs)
Michigan Spotlight: DJ Turner — CB (6’0”, 181 lbs); Mazi Smith — DT (6’3”, 337 lbs)

There are so many players in this game that could make sense for the Steelers, but I narrowed it down to two on each side. I am not going rehash my thoughts on Joey Porter, Jr. yet again, but he looks like a guy who will be locking down receivers for many years to come. PJ Mustipher has been around for quite a while, but his presence on Penn State’s defensive line has remained consistent.

For Michigan, much of the same can be said for DJ Turner that has already been stated about Joey Porter, Jr. I have first-round grades on the both of them, and they continue to improve by the week. The person Steelers fans really need to pay more attention to is Mazi Smith. Pegged as the biggest athletic freak in the country by Bruce Feldman, Smith has every tool needed to dominate in the NFL. His growth in 2022 has been noticeable, as he has become one of the true leaders on that defense.

#3 Alabama vs. #6 Tennessee — 3:30 ET on CBS

Alabama Spotlight: Will Anderson — EDGE (6’4”, 243 lbs); Emil Ekiyor (6’3”, 324 lbs)
Tennessee Spotlight: Byron Young — EDGE (6’3”, 245 lbs); Jerome Carter — G (6’5”, 321 lbs)

Who would have thought the Steelers could have a legitimate shot at Will Anderson? It feels funny even listing him here, but if things go south for the Steelers the remainder of the season, it may be a possibility. Could you imagine pairing Anderson with T.J. Watt? I do not consider EDGE to be a need in need of being addressed with a first-round pick, but it is clear the Steelers need another competent piece on the edge as insurance for T.J. Watt.

For the Vols, we have to return back to the guy who seems to make big plays every week: Byron Young. Young is coming off a 2.5-sack performance against LSU, and he will play a big role in whether or not Tennessee can pull off the upset. Pass rush will be the key, and Young has shown great refinement in that area in 2022.

#8 Oklahoma State vs. #13 TCU — 3:30 ET on ABC

Oklahoma State Spotlight: Tyler Lacy — DL (6’4”, 285 lbs); Korie Black — CB (6’0”, 185 lbs)
TCU Spotlight: Steve Avila (C — 6’4”, 334 lbs); Derius Davis — WR (5’9”, 175 lbs)

Oklahoma State does not possess many prized draft prospects, but Tyler Lacy definitely provides some intrigue in the middle rounds. Lacy is best suited for a 5-technique role in the 3-4 system at his current size, but he does have the frame to add more weight and slide to the inside if he chooses to go down that road.

For TCU, Steelers fans could find themselves falling in love with Steve Avila really quickly. He is not the prototypical Steelers center, but he is a bruising run blocker who displays tremendous power and decent footwork. His struggles come when he plays over his feet in pass protection, but that is most definitely a fixable issue. With a strong second half of the season, Avila could become one of the top interior linemen prospects.

Other Games and Prospects to Watch

#15 NC State vs. #18 Syracuse — 3:30 ET on ACC Network

Prospects to Watch: Bryson Speas — OL — NCST (6’3”, 315 lbs); Christopher Bleich — G — SYR (6’6”, 326 lbs)

#7 USC vs. #20 Utah — 8:00 ET on FOX

Prospects to Watch: Andrew Vorhees — OL — USC (6’6”, 320 lbs); Clark Phillips III — CB — UTAH (5’10”, 191 lbs)

Which games and prospects are you watching in Week 7? Which prospects mentioned above intrigue you the most as a Steelers fan? Be sure to light up the comment section below throughout the day as you sit back and enjoy a phenomenal slate of games!