Think it’s too early for NFL Mock Drafts? When your favorite team, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, are currently on the outside looking in at the NFL Playoffs, you go there. Although teams like the Steelers are clinging to a faint hope of postseason play, the writing is on the wall this season is likely going to end following Week 18.
Major media outlets realize this, and want to provide these fan bases a taste of what to expect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Sure, it’s a long way away, but with NCAA bowl season almost here, it is time to take a look at who might be out there for the teams who are selecting early in the three day process.
Todd McShay of ESPN recently put out his first mock draft, and here is the Top 15, according to McShay. The Steelers are drafting 9th in his most recent projections.
1. Houston Texans (1-11-1) Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
2. Seattle Seahawks (via 3-10 DEN) Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
3. Chicago Bears (3-10) Will Anderson Jr., OLB, Alabama
4. Detroit Lions (via 4-9 LAR) C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
5. Philadelphia Eagles (via 4-9 NO) Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
6. Atlanta Falcons (5-8) Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
7. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1) Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
8. Las Vegas Raiders (5-8) Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8) Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Offensive line is the biggest need, and Johnson is an easy mover with quickness, power, improving technique and versatility to play multiple positions. He settled in as the Buckeyes’ left tackle this season, allowing just one sack, and he would go a long way in helping protect Kenny Pickett. The Steelers didn’t use any draft picks on the line in April and have allowed 34 sacks this season (tied for ninth most). It’s time to get a cornerstone for this unit.
10. Arizona Cardinals (4-9) Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
11. Carolina Panthers (5-8) Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
12. Houston Texans (via 5-8 CLE) Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8) Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
14. Green Bay Packers (5-8) Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
15. New England Patriots (7-6) Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
McShay isn’t the first person to have the Buckeye lineman heading to Pittsburgh. So, here is some more information about Johnson:
This via the Draft Network:
Journalism major that has covered numerous events and players for Ohio State’s newspaper, The Lantern
Consensus five-star recruit from Cincinnati
Academic standout with an extensive background in volunteering. Has already established a foundation to help veterans and underprivileged children.
Scheme tendencies: Zone rushing scheme, spread passing offense.
2022 projected role: Starting left tackle that spent his first season as a starter in 2021 at right guard.
Pros: Paris Johnson Jr. is an explosive athlete with easy movement skills. He has exceptional range as a run blocker and can be trusted to execute longer pulls. He pairs top-end mobility with an impressive frame that features an athletic build with long limbs. Johnson has plenty of high-level flashes where his blend of size, power, and athleticism leads to dominant reps and he should benefit from playing tackle, where his skill set projects more favorably than on the interior. Johnson is a respected leader who excels in the classroom that has a passion for helping veterans and disadvantaged children.
Cons: Despite being an elite athlete, Paris Johnson Jr. has to do a better job of protecting his edges as a pass blocker by being more consistent with his pass sets and framing blocks. Johnson is too often tardy with his responses to twists/stunts, especially when he’s uncovered. He needs to do a better job of playing with leverage and showcasing more of a willingness to sit on his hips to improve his overall control and improve his ability to sustain blocks longer. Johnson has plenty of room to add functional strength to improve his anchor and power at the point of attack when run blocking. While he has exceptional range when pulling and climbing to the second level, he needs to find better control on the move and be more consistent with anticipating flow so he can connect with moving targets in space. His base has a tendency to narrow and he must become more consistent with setting and maintaining a firm base to operate from. Johnson’s hands can be late to activate and opponents often get into his frame and win with first contact, which puts him in a state of recovery. Johnson is guilty of pushing and leaning as a run blocker and not rolling his hips into contact.
With all that said, what would you think if the Steelers took Johnson with their first pick in the upcoming draft? Is offensive tackle not as big of a need as others? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Carolina Panthers in Week 15.