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.
This week, we are focusing solely on the perhaps the greatest rivalry in all of sports: “The Game.” This year’s rendition of Michigan vs. Ohio State will be taking place at the toilet bow... I mean, the ’shoe. Both teams have dealt with significant injuries in the backfield, and the health of both teams’ running backs may determine the fate of the game.
For this week’s draft preview, we are going to rank the top 10 players to watch in this game from a Steelers perspective. All ten of these prospects could potentially be a fit for the Steelers, but keep a special eye on the names at the top of this list, as their draft stock and position both fit what the Steelers have and need when the draft rolls around.
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 to keep an eye on in THE GAME!!!
1. DJ Turner | CB | Michigan |
If Turner can slow down freshman phenom Marvin Harrison, Jr., his stock will be firmly inside the first round. The Steelers need corners, and Turner's aggressiveness would fit Teryl Austin's defense.
2. Paris Johnson, Jr. | OT | Ohio State |
Johnson has not faced a ton of elite pass rushers this season, but he has been a steady presence along the offensive line. Strong testing at the combine could make him the OT1 in this draft.
3. Mazi Smith | NT | Michigan |
Tyson Alualu's NFL days are about numbed, and Montravius Adams is best suited as a rotational backup. Smith is insanely athletic, and he could give the Steelers a true Casey Hampton type at tackle.
4. Olusegun Oluwatimi | C | Michigan
Oluwatimi is a transfer from Virginia who has been one of the catalysts of Michigan's running success. While not the strongest lineman, Oluwatimi is a solid athlete who moves well in space. Consider him a likely Day 2 pick as of now.
5. Ryan Hayes | OT | Michigan |
Keep an eye on Hayes when faced against sophomore stud J.T. Tuimoloau. Tuimoloau is a legit top-10 prospect in the 2024 class, and he has every athletic gift needed to dominate. If contained, the talented Michigan tackle could find his way into the later portions of Round 1.
6. Luke Wypler | C | Ohio State |
There is no guarantee Wypler declares this year, but he has a chance to prove himself Saturday, likely facing Mazi Smith for the majority of the game. Wypler may lack Smith's size, but he makes up for his slightly undersized frame with great technique, balance, and hand usage.
7. Zak Zinter | G | Michigan |
Zinter is not coming off the greatest of performances, but he has an opportunity to erase last week's game with a good one against Ohio State's talented defensive line. Zinter is a solid run blocker, but he gets in trouble when his pads are too high. I currently have an early Day 3 grade on him.
8. Lathan Ransom | CB | Ohio State |
Ransom's biggest concerns come in the area of speed, but he could make sense for a zone-heavy defense when used correctly. Michigan's receivers have not done well at creating separation this season, giving Ransom a prime opportunity to succeed.
9. Mike Morris | EDGE | Michigan
Morris is a legitimate top-50 prospect, but regardless of Alex Highsmith's future with the team, EDGE simply is not a top team need. Thus, he falls down the list to number nine.
10. Zach Harrison | EDGE | Michigan
It has been a rough season for Harrison, but he is coming off his best game of the season against Maryland. His stock will most definitely rise if he can have success against Michigan's strong offensive line.
Which Michigan and Ohio State prospects would you like to see on the Steelers in 2023? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to chime in throughout the day as we soak in an excellent rivalry weekend!