The 2023 NFL Draft is now just days away, and that means the mock drafts are heating up. Everyone has their predictions out there for analysis and inspection, but most mock drafts are of the 1 Round variety.
When someone is willing to put together a full 7-Round mock draft, it should be acknowledged. With that said, it is difficult enough to predict one round of the draft, let alone all seven rounds.
Nonetheless, that is exactly what Jordan Reid of ESPN did in his latest prediction piece.
Let’s take a look at who he has going to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a little bit of analysis of each pick.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
The Steelers haven’t selected an offensive tackle in the first round since 1996 (Jamain Stephens). It’s time. Wright is the best right tackle in the class and an immediate plug-and-play option. Coming from Tennessee’s up-tempo, air-it-out system, he’s ready in pass protection but has toughness in the run game. An NFL area scout said, “Wright was one of the most improved players in the country and he did that with it being his first year at a new position.”
An early run on quarterbacks, three picked in the first four selections, equates in a run on offensive tackles to follow. Sprinkled in throughout those picks are the big-name cornerbacks coming off the board. With Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon and Joey Porter Jr. all gone, the Steelers take Wright with their top pick. Wright is a versatile piece who could be a valuable asset for the offensive line for a very long time.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (from CHI) - Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia
Getting younger in the secondary takes priority in Round 2, where the Steelers can draft a high-upside cornerback to learn under Patrick Peterson and push Levi Wallace. Ringo had legitimate first-round buzz before the 2022 season began but struggled in man coverage. He is 6-2, 207 pounds and ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash, so the all-around potential is promising. And Pittsburgh has a track record of strong player development.
The Steelers tap into the defensive side of the football with a cornerback. There are those who aren’t big on Ringo as a prospect, but it is definitely a team need and something which is addressed early.
49. Pittsburgh Steelers - Joe Tippmann, C, Wisconsin
After adding Darnell Wright in the first round, the Steelers can continue to improve the offensive line in the second round. A physical center, Tippmann excels in space but also can throw bodies around at the line of scrimmage. Mason Cole is the team’s current starter, but Tippmann — a two-year starter in a pro-style scheme — could jump right into the lineup.
Some fans wouldn’t think the center position would be high on the team’s priority list, but finding the next anchor in the middle of the offensive line is something the team wasn’t about to pass up. Not to mention they have a pretty decent history with Wisconsin centers.
80. Pittsburgh Steelers - Rashee Rice, WR, SMU
Even after the trade to acquire Allen Robinson II from the Rams, the Steelers should be looking at pass-catchers in this draft. Rice was a heavily productive possession receiver in the pass-happy SMU offense, catching 96 passes for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns in his breakout 2022 campaign.
While this update was done before the Steelers signed Miles Boykin to a one-year contract, it was after the team traded for Allen Robinson II. The team adds to the receiving corps with the addition of Rice, and makes you question what they have in Calvin Austin III.
120. Pittsburgh Steelers: Dorian Williams, ILB, Tulane
Shockingly, the first four picks went 3 to the offense and just 1 to the defense. The Steelers add an inside linebacker in Round 4 with Williams, and many fans will be wondering why the organization ignored some quality defenders throughout Day 1 and 2.
241. Pittsburgh Steelers (from MIN/DEN): Jose Ramirez, OLB, Eastern Michigan
251. Pittsburgh Steelers (from LAR)*: Grant DuBose, WR, Charlotte
At this point in the draft you are looking to find players who are able to contribute in some way. However, before fans just toss out the idea of 7th Round picks being useless, there are some recent final round picks who have stuck around.
2021: Tre Norwood & Pressley Harvin
2022: Mark Robinson
These picks might be long-shots, but they also can defy the odds and make the 53-man roster.
It is difficult to predict one round of the NFL Draft, but doing all seven rounds is even more challenging. Nonetheless, what do you think of Reid’s predictions, and would you be happy with the Steelers’ haul if the draft played out this way?
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.