With the 2023 NFL Draft only weeks away, it’s important to try and figure out what would be the top need and value for every NFL team. It’s important to decipher between the two categories, and the draft experts at ESPN recently did just that with Matt Miller and Jordan Reid going through the motions with all 31 first round picks.
But it’s important to note this is NOT a mock draft. It’s the two pundits picking the best value and top need. Here is their explanation of the exercise...
Let’s be clear right off the bat: This isn’t a mock draft. What follows is far from a projection of which top prospects each team will actually take in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft. Instead, it’s a look at who might make sense — and should still be on the board — at each slot based on two very different draft room strategies: picking to fill a huge team need and picking based on “best player available.”
Ideally, NFL teams try to marry the two concepts when making selections in Round 1 — addressing a need without reaching is how teams win on draft night. But when each franchise is on the clock, the decision-makers are weighing a lot of different things, and sometimes there’s a value pick too good to pass up or a roster weakness too big to ignore.
So we asked our NFL draft analysts to explore both sides of the table for all 31 first-round picks. First, Matt Miller named a prospect who would best fill every team’s biggest (or in some cases, second-biggest) need. Second, Jordan Reid pointed to the prospect who would give each team maximum value and satisfy a “best player available” approach. Repeat picks weren’t allowed, so each selection was based on the current board for each analyst. The lower we get in Round 1, the more variety you’ll see. Essentially, we tried to lay out a few options for every front office gearing up for a Day 1 pick.
With that said, who would fill the biggest need and the best value for the Pittsburgh Steelers at pick No. 17? Both are on the offensive side of the football. Here are their picks:
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller’s pick that fills a big need: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The Steelers have built an offensive line without investing early-round picks, but that product shows on the field. After adding free agent right guard Isaac Seumalo, plugging in a dominant run-blocker like Wright next to him gives Pittsburgh a legitimate strength and would boost the run game for star back Najee Harris.
Reid’s pick that gets best value: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
With my 17th-ranked (Nolan Smith) and 18th-ranked (Addison) players still on the board, I’m going with the latter. Addison would provide another threat on the perimeter for the Steelers. And remember, quarterback Kenny Pickett and Addison already have chemistry from their days at Pitt, where they won a conference championship and got Addison a Biletnikoff Award.
As it pertains to the above selections, what do you think? Do you believe someone like Darnell Wright offers the biggest need? Do you see Jordan Addison as the best value? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.