During the last years, projecting the steelersThe first-round pick was about as predictable as Sidney Crosby and the Penguins playing hockey past the regular season. But as is the case with the current Penguins team (which is currently one point away from the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot), the Steelers’ first-round pick in this year’s draft is anything but certain.
While their plans are a bit less clear than in recent years, it’s safe to assume Pittsburgh will use some of their best draft picks to address needs at secondary defensive line, receiver and offensive tackle. However, when these needs are addressed during the draft, it is the least predictable part.
With the draft right around the corner, here’s a recap of our Steelers seven-round mock draft. Thanks to NFL Mock Draft DatabaseIn the seven-round mock draft machine, we were able to run an entire draft acting as General Manager Omar Khan.
While we decided not to seek or accept trades during our mock draft, don’t be surprised if Khan decides to trade in the first round, something he said he’s willing to do if the right opportunity presents itself. Pittsburgh may also choose to go to the fifth or sixth round, as it currently does not have a pick in either round.
Let’s see how it went.
Equipment needs: IDL, DB, OT, OLB, WR, RB
Round 1, pick 17
Round 2, pick 32 (from CHI)
Round 2, choose 49
Round 3, choose 80
Round 4, choose 120
Round 7, pick 234
Round 7, Pick 241 (from MIN and DEN)
Round 1 (No. 17 overall): DL Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
- Prospect Rank (Overall): 32
- Position Rank: 4
For the second year in a row, the Steelers use a first-round pick on a former Pitt Panther. Kancey was selected over another former Pitt standout, catcher Jordan Addison, who enjoyed a prolific association with Kenny Pickett during their time together in Pittsburgh.
Kancey is Pitt’s best interior defensive line prospect since aaron donald in 2014. The 6-foot, 275-pound Kancey was extremely adept at getting to the passer at Pitt, as he collected 14.5 sacks during his last two seasons in college. He also posted 34.5 tackles for loss while having a constant presence in opposing backfields. Pittsburgh would present an ideal situation for Kancey, as he would be flanked in the Steelers’ line by the perennial Pro Bowler. cameron heyward and fellow veteran Larry Ogunjobi.
Round 2 (No. 32 overall): DB Brian Branch, Alabama
- Prospect Rank (Overall): 16
- Position Rank: 1
Multiple preliminary simulations were run in an effort to see if Branch still available here was really a legitimate possibility. Sure enough, Branch will still be available with pick No. 32 (a pick the Steelers acquired in the trade he sent Chase Claypool toward Bears) after multiple simulations. This would be an ideal pick for the Steelers, especially if the team doesn’t select a defensive back with the No. 17 overall pick.
Versatility is one of Branch’s biggest traits, which happens to be one of the things the Steelers covet when it comes to their defensive backfield. Pittsburgh recently signed an eight-time Pro Bowler patrick peterson with the idea that you can make the switch to free security while allowing minkah fitzpatrick to move to strong security. This would create a hole at cornerback that Branch, a safety by trade, could fill if he’s able to make the trade.
Throughout his time at Alabama, Branch made plays that would indicate he is capable of thriving wherever he is called upon to play at the next level. Branch made plays at every level of Alabama’s defense that included his prowess as a tackler. This would be a great addition to a secondary that wants to get back to being among the best units in the league.
Round 2 (No. 49 overall): OT Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
- Prospect Rank (Overall): 41
- Position Range: 6
Pittsburgh finally addresses its lack of tackle depth after spending the past two offseasons investing heavily inside the line. In Pittsburgh, Bergeron could provide solid depth behind the starters. dan moore jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor while competing for playing time with recent free agent signing Le’Raven Clark.
Originally from Montreal, Bergeron broke into Syracuse’s starting lineup his freshman year and remained there through his senior season. Hailed for his body control, Bergeron also has solid mobility that serves him well in both run blocking and pass protection.
The need for further development in some areas of his game is one reason why Bergeron doesn’t rank higher than his peers. But in Pittsburgh, he would have time to develop other areas of his game while playing behind the Steelers’ starting tackles.
Round 3 (No. 80 overall): WR Rashee Rice, SMU
- Prospect Rank (Overall): 78
- Position Range: 8
emmanuel sandersthe last wide receiver the Steelers drafted from SMU, enjoyed great success nfl career that included a Super Bowl win with Denver. Sanders was one of many talented receivers Pittsburgh drafted during Kevin Colbert’s 22 years as the team’s general manager.
Rice would join a receiving corps that already includes diontae johnson and George Pickens. In addition to creating more space for Johnson and Pickens, adding Rice gives Pittsburgh additional insurance with calvin austin iii returning after missing his entire rookie year with injury.
At 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, Rice had a knack for finding the end zone in college. He scored 19 touchdowns during his last two seasons as a Mustang while averaging a solid 13.4 yards per reception. While his ball control could use some improvement, Rice consistently displayed his ability to play big in college that included his ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
Round 4 (No. 120 overall): EDGE Isaiah McGuire, Missouri
- Prospect Rank (Overall): 126
- Position Rank: 17
This becomes less necessary if the Steelers bring back buddupree. Regardless, Pittsburgh could use reliable reinforcements behind TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith while further bolstering the pass rush. McGuire, a productive pass-rusher in college, would be an ideal pick for the Steelers at this point in the draft.
The 6-foot-4, 266-pound McGuire had 14.5 sacks, 28 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles during his final two seasons with the Tigers. He ended his college career on a high note after recording two sacks and two tackles for loss during Missouri’s two-point win over 20th-ranked Arkansas.
McGuire’s ability as a run blocker should allow him to stay on the field beyond next-level passing situations. His versatility and overall athleticism would complement the rest of the nfl highest paid defenseman
Round 7 (No. 234 overall): OT Carter Warren, Pittsburgh
- Prospect Rank (Overall): 279
- Position Rank: 23
The Steelers need tackle depth, so why not reunite Pickett with the guy who protected their blindside in Pitt? While injuries limited him to just four games last season, Warren started every one of Pitt’s games in 2021 while helping Pickett win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, among other awards.
There are several things I like about Warren, including his ability as a pass protector, his physical attributes and his manual technique. Warren asked questions about his health to bed after playing in the Shrine Bowl in January.
Round 7 (No. 241 overall): RB Keaton Mitchell, East Carolina
- Prospect Rank (Overall): 157
- Position Range: 10
With Benny Snell unsigned, the Steelers need more depth at running back behind starter Najee Harris and top backup Jaylen Warren. In Mitchell, the Steelers would have a running back who averaged a whopping 6.5 yards per carry during his time in college. Last fall, Mitchell rushed for 1,452 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
Like many smaller running backs, the 5-foot-9, 194-pound Mitchell relies heavily on his breakneck speed. He raised eyebrows after running a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash last month. nfl Combine, so it’s highly likely that the Steelers may have to trade to draft him. But if Mitchell is still available this late in the draft, Pittsburgh would surely jump at the chance to add him to their offense.