The 2023 NFL Draft is days away, and the projections are going crazy for all 32 NFL teams. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, everyone is talking about the best “fit”, as well as trying to predict what the team will do with the 17th overall pick.
Most are talking all about the same positions and players when it comes to the team’s first pick:
- Broderick Jones
- Peter Skoronski
- Paris Johnson Jr.
- Christian Gonzalez
- Joey Porter Jr.
- Devon Witherspoon
Those six prospects are by far the most discussed players among Steelers faithful, but the reality of the situation is if the Steelers stay put at No. 17, and those six prospects are gone, what will they do?
Another tackle who is gaining momentum heading into the draft is Darnell Wright out of Tennessee. Wright has absolutely been a “riser” heading into the draft, and ESPN recently gave their “perfect fits” and Matt Miller thought Wright is the perfect pick for the Steelers at No. 17. Here is what he had to say about the pick...
Miller: Darnell Wright to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 17 overall. The Steelers haven’t invested early-round picks in the offensive line and it’s showing. Right tackle is at the top of my needs list for them. Tennessee’s Wright, the best right tackle in the class, fits Pittsburgh perfectly with his toughness in the run game and mobility to protect the quarterback in passing situations.
I don’t think there is any doubt Wright would be a decent fit along the Steelers offensive line, based on what they want to do with Matt Canada’s running scheme, but if Wright is brought on board what would that do to the offensive line?
Most would agree Wright is more of a right tackle than left tackle, even though he’s played both in college, and, for the sake of this exercise, let’s assume if he were the Steelers’ pick he would play right tackle.
Wright might need some time before entering the starting lineup, and could be a good option at swing tackle his rookie season. But when he’s ready, does he take over for Chuks Okorafor, and where would Okorafor go? Would the plan be for Wright to take over at right tackle and Dan Moore Jr. and Okorafor battle it out at left tackle? Okorafor has everything you typically want in a left tackle, from a tangible sense, but has never been able to put it all together at the professional level.
Contractually, you have to consider how much money Okorafor is due in the last two seasons of his 3-year contract he signed last offseason. While Moore is on his rookie contract, that matters.
So, in theory, having Wright be the Steelers pick makes sense, but the ripple effect of this pick along the Steelers offensive line is worth discussing. How would you see it playing out? Would Wright be a player who could be a Day 1 starter? 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 rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.