After a 2-6 start, coach Mike Tomlin managed to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to another winning record at 9-8. There are plenty of positives for Pittsburgh after finishing the season on a 7-2 stretch. The offense is finally progressing and rookie Kenny Pickett seems to be the answer at quarterback.
However, the Steelers are still stuck in mediocrity and have not won a playoff game since 2016. How can Pittsburgh improve in the offseason and take the next step? With three selections in the first two rounds, the Steelers are in a great position to make substantial upgrades in the 2023 NFL Draft.
2022 Season Record: 9-8
Status of Coach: Mike Tomlin – Safe
Positions of Need
- Offensive line
- Wide receiver
- Defensive tackle
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 17
- Round 2, Pick 32 (from Bears)
- Round 2, Pick 49
Potential First-Round Targets
The Steelers should have a lot of options with the No. 17 overall pick. Selecting an offensive tackle should be atop the list. Left tackle Dan Moore Jr. and right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor are simply mediocre and have yet to display high upside. For an improved passing attack, Pittsburgh must give Pickett better protection.
However, the No. 17 pick is not a great spot for a tackle. Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State) and Broderick Jones (Georgia) will likely be off the board. The Steelers would be thrilled with any of the three due to their great athleticism and good pass-blocking. Pittsburgh will surely take Skoronski, Johnson, or Jones if one slides to No. 17.
Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison and Florida offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence are realistic options. Harrison has ideal size at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds and is excellent in pass protection. Torrence is the best interior offensive lineman in the class thanks to his dominance and strength in the run game. Both prospects will likely be available in the 20s, meaning the Steelers could trade down for Harrison or Torrence.
How would #Florida RG O’Cyrus Torrence #54 look after transferring from the Sun Belt to the SEC?
Like a player who wants to be a 1st round pick.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 16, 2022
Potential Second-Round Targets
The Chase Claypool trade paid off big time. The Chicago Bears finished with the NFL’s worst record and the Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-rounder due to tampering, which means Pittsburgh holds the top second-round pick at No. 32. The Steelers can surely get a first-round talent at this spot, and they still hold the No. 49 pick as well.
More than likely, Pittsburgh will go offensive line in the first round. The Steelers could hit the defense on the second day, particularly the cornerback and linebacker. Cornerback has been a problem spot for years, linebacker Devin Bush Jr. is a free agent and Myles Jack comes off a poor season.
Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes has great length and leaping ability, making him a ball-hawk in the secondary. In fact, Forbes recorded six interceptions in the 2022 season. His ball tracking also makes him a good fit for zone coverage, which the Steelers run often.
At linebacker, Oregon’s Noah Sewell and Iowa’s Jack Campbell are good options for the No. 49 selection. Sewell has great speed and physicality at 6-foot-2, 253 pounds. Campbell is extremely versatile at 6-foot-5. He has good speed to chase down ball carriers and his length allows him to rush the passer and he excels in coverage.
Keep an eye on Pittsburgh’s moves in free agency. This could quickly change its need for the 2023 NFL Draft.