We are still over nine months away from the 2023 NFL Draft, but it is never too early to begin looking at early projections for the annual event.
For many years now, I have been clamoring for the Steelers to invest in a big-time left tackle who could rise to the level of stardom. Although the team currently seems content with who they have at the position, there is definitely room for improvement. We will have to wait and see if Dan Moore, Jr. can improve upon an up-and-down rookie season, but the lack of improvement in Chukwuma Okorafor’s game from year to year has made manifest his true value, which is that of a swing tackle.
Behind the starters, it is quite dry. Joe Haeg, who has done little good for the Steelers, and Chaz Green are the primary depth options. There are a couple intriguing names on the free agent market, but nobody inside the Steelers organization has seemed to show much interest in the current available options. This leaves the 2023 draft as the prime opportunity to upgrade the position.
That, in fact, was the exact suggestion in a recent mock draft by Cam Mellor of Pro Football Network, who gave the Steelers Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison with the 11th overall pick. Here is what Mellor had to say about the selection.
With Ben Roethlisberger out and Kenny Pickett in, the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be headed for a middling 2022 season. At least that’s what the odds currently state. The Steelers need to build around their first-round quarterback, and securing youth and size on the offensive line is a must. Anton Harrison presents a challenge for defenders to get around, and they’re certainly not getting through him. With a strong base, great anchor, and terrific footwork, get ready to hear this name a lot.
Oklahoma has had one of the steadiest offensive lines in the country in recent memory, and this year, the expectation is no different. If Wanya Morris can live up to his billing coming out of high school, the Sooners could have a scary duo of bookend tackles.
Mellor’s mock was not finished yet, however, as he went two rounds long, giving the Steelers Cincinnati linebacker Ivan Pace, Jr. with the 43rd selection. Here are Mellor’s thoughts on the physical linebacker.
One of the top MAC linebackers from the past few seasons has a new home in Cincinnati as Ivan Pace Jr. can cement himself among this class with a solid year in the Queen City. He’s a hard-nosed, downhill thumper with an ability to play QB spy among the best we’ve seen. Pace is big and fast, a fun combination to add an influx of both to Pittsburgh’s defense.
Pace began his collegiate career with Miami of Ohio, but at the beginning of the calendar year, he announced his intention to transfer to Cincinnati, where his brother Deshawn currently plays. He is heading to a Bearcat team that is still suffering the loss of Darrian Beavers to the NFL, but fortunately for Cincinnati, Pace fits the mold of a prototypical BUCK linebacker. He may lack a little in the speed department, and he may not have the length Beavers provided, but what he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in physicality.
What do you think of this mock draft? Do you think the Steelers really need another inside linebacker? Are you of the belief that Pittsburgh must get stronger at offensive tackle? Be sure to share your thoughts on this and all things NFL draft in the comment section below!