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, especially early in the season.
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.
#1 Alabama vs. Texas | Noon ET on FOX
Alabama Spotlight: Eli Ricks — CB; Jordan Battle — S
Texas Spotlight: DeMarvion Overshown — ILB; Isaiah Neyor — WR
We could go a number of ways with Alabama, but their defensive backs will actually be tested this week, making them the point of focus in Week 2. Ricks is a potential first-round pick who possesses great length for the position. Listed at only 195 pounds, he will want to add weight to his frame, as one of the major questions on his resume is his ability to get physical with bigger receivers.
For Texas, I have my eye on DeMarvion Overshown. He possesses speed, reactive quickness, and a frame that can hold more weight. Do not lose sight of a sleeper in yet another deep class of receivers, either. Isaiah Neyor is a height/weight/speed athlete who could skyrocket on draft boards with a big game on a stage as big as this week’s game.
#24 Tennessee vs. #17 Pittsburgh — 3:30 ET on ABC
Tennessee Spotlight: Darnell Wright — OT; Jerome Carvin — IOL
Pittsburgh Spotlight: SirVocea Dennis — ILB; John Morgan III — EDGE
Much of the attention for the Volunteers is dedicated to quarterback Hendon Hooker, but the offensive line protecting him should be looked into as well. Darnell Wright is a massive tackle who, despite lacking elite mobility, has held his own and done his part in protecting Tennessee’s prized quarterback. He also possesses excellent power in the run game.
SirVocea Dennis made several key plays in Pitt’s opener against West Virginia, but becoming more consistent for an extended period of time will be the biggest challenge as it pertains to boosting his draft stock. The traits are there. He can cover, blitz, and defend the run all at high levels when at his best.
#9 Baylor vs. #21 BYU — 10:15 ET on ESPN
Baylor Spotlight: Siaki Ika — NT; Connor Galvin — OT
BYU Spotlight: Clark Barrington — G; Keenan Pili — ILB
I am intrigued by many of Baylor’s draft-eligible prospects, but my favorite player on that Bears team has to be Siaki Ika. At 6’4”, 350 pounds, Ika is a behemoth who moves incredibly well for his size. The most intriguing thing, however, is Ika’s ability to create pressure from the nose tackle position. With Tyson Alualu set to be a free agent following the season, Steelers fans need to pay close attention to this guy. He passes the eye test and could make for an intriguing choice in the early rounds of next year’s draft.
For BYU, I would not mind taking a closer look at Clark Barrington, an interior lineman who lacks bulk (just a shade over 300 pounds) but displays good mobility and footwork. A technically sound athlete, Barrington projects best as a guard in a zone-blocking scheme at the next level. He does have a tendency to play over his feet in pass protection, but he is definitely a guy who could be considered by NFL teams on Day 2 of the draft.
Which NFL Draft prospects do you have your eye on this weekend? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!