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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers take massive Florida guard in Round 1

ESPN’s Jordan Reid has the Steelers looking at a Florida lineman with their top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Missouri at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There is no denying the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the market for some help along the offensive line this offseason. After the additions of James Daniels and Mason Cole last year, and the improved play of Chuks Okorafor, the right side of the line seems solidified. As for the left, there is plenty left to be desired.

Whether you are talking about Kevin Dotson, who will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2023, or Dan Moore Jr., there is room to improve the line. This will be a huge talking point as the 2023 NFL Draft approaches, and is a large reason why major outlets are having the Steelers select along the offense line in the more recent mock drafts.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid just put out how Mock Draft 1.0, and before we get to how he has the draft breaking, this is how he got his draft order.

For the following mock draft of the first round, I used our Football Power Index’s projected draft order though Sunday’s Week 17 games.

With that said, let’s take a look at when he has the Steelers selecting, as well as the first round falling until it’s Pittsburgh turn to pick:

Round 1

1. Houston Texans (2-13-1) Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
2. Chicago Bears (3-13) Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
3. Seattle Seahawks (via 4-12 DEN) Will Anderson Jr., OLB, Alabama
4. Arizona Cardinals (4-12) Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
5. Indianapolis Colts (4-11-1) C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
6. Detroit Lions (via 5-11 LAR) Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
7. Las Vegas Raiders (6-10) Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
8. Atlanta Falcons (6-10) Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
9. Carolina Panthers (6-10) Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
10. Tennessee Titans (7-9) Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
11. Philadelphia Eagles (via 7-9 NO) Jared Verse, DE, Florida State
12. Houston Texans (via 7-9 CLE) Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
13. New York Jets (7-9) Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
14. Washington Commanders (7-8-1) Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
15. New England Patriots (8-8) Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
16. Seattle Seahawks (8-8) Trenton Simpson, ILB, Clemson

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8) O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida

Pittsburgh just invested a first-round pick in quarterback Kenny Pickett, so improving the protection around him is important. The Steelers have historically gravitated toward wide-bodied interior blockers, and Torrence fits the mold at 6-foot-5, 347 pounds. And he uses that frame extraordinarily well in multiple areas, displaying a skill set that translates well to the Steelers’ power-running scheme. And he has enough short-area quickness to be dependable in pass protection, evidenced by just two sacks allowed over nearly 3,000 career snaps.

Biggest needs: OL, CB, DT

The addition of a player like Torrence would be a good addition to the offensive line, in both pass protection and run blocking. Don’t know much about Torrence as a prospect? Here is a prospect breakdown via The Draft Network:

O’Cyrus Torrence is a senior interior offensive lineman for the Florida Gators who transferred to the program before the 2022 season—following head coach Billy Napier from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Torrence was a well-accomplished player in the Sun Belt Conference after being named to the Second Team (2020) and First Team (2021) All-Sun-Belt squads.

Torrence has great overall mass and length and has proven to have traits that are translatable from the Sun Belt to the SEC. Torrence is best as a player when he can use his mass and natural strength. In the run game, Torrence does a good job of getting a quick first step to generate movement along the line of scrimmage and create openings for ball carriers. Torrence is a high-motor offensive lineman that plays through the whistle and works to finish defenders.

In pass protection, Torrence does a good job of using his strength to stop defenders in their pass rush. Torrence does a good job of handling the bull rush and shows to have the lower-body strength to anchor down on defenders, stopping them from getting any penetration into the pocket.

Torrence can improve in multiple areas. Although Torrence’s aggressiveness is appreciated, there are instances when it negatively impacts his game. Torrence will get too aggressive in the run game and it leads to him being off-balance and not placing an effective block. Torrence loses technique and will approach defenders with his head down, which allows for defenders to easily evade him.

There are also issues with Torrence in pass protection. It appears he lacks the quickness to be a quick reactor to twists and stunts and effectively pick them up. Torrence also fails to consistently move his feet while engaged. When Torrence is engaged, he will plant his feet in the ground and look to defeat defenders by using his upper-body strength and throwing them to the ground—this could lead to holding penalties. When defenders attack Torrence’s edges, his lack of lateral agility shows and could lead to him giving up pressures or committing holding penalties.

Overall, Torrence’s plus trait is his physicality in the run game, but there are concerns about his range as a player due to his struggles to move laterally and his reactionary athleticism. If Torrence can be placed in the right scheme to highlight his best assets as a player, he has the upside to be an effective player in the NFL.

Top Reasons to Buy In:

  • Run game dominance
  • Physicality at the point of attack
  • Anchor in pass protection

Top Reasons For Concern:

  • Scheme specific
  • Questionable lateral agility
  • Limited range as a blocker in pass protection

Size (TBD):

Height: 6050

Weight: 345 lbs

Ideal Role: Starting RG or LG

Scheme Fit: Gap Scheme / Power Run Scheme

TDN Consensus Grade:72/100 (Fourth-Round Value)

What do you think of the pick? Would you be okay if the Steelers ended up pulling the trigger with this pick? 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 Cleveland Browns in Week 18.