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The Pittsburgh Steelers went 7-2 down the stretch and won their last four in a row to help Mike Tomlin keep his over .500 streak alive. However, in year two of Kenny Pickett, the Steelers need to get better on both sides of the ball. That means filling the team’s most pressing needs in the 2023 NFL Draft, which is exactly what happens in this three-round Steelers mock draft.

Round 1, Pick No. 17: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Ideally, a Steelers mock draft would have them taking a true No. 1 wide receiver, or a franchise left tackle. The problem is those players just don’t exist at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft.

That doesn’t mean the team can’t fill a need at a premium position with a premium prospect at No. 17. After losing Cam Sutton to the Detroit Lions in free agency, the Steelers need a cornerback.

Joey Porter Jr. is one of the top CBs in the class. He’s big (6-foot-2 ½, 193 pounds), he’s athletic (4.46 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical, 10-foot-9-inch broad jump), and his dad was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Steelers.

Porter Jr. is an excellent fit both from a positional and makeup perspective. And the Steelers have a perfect mentor, too, after signing veteran Patrick Peterson.

Round 2, Pick No. 32: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Last season, the Steelers starting tackles, Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor, weren’t very good. And with free agency winding down, guess who the 2023 starting tackles on the Steelers depth chart are?

Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor.

Pittsburgh needs to sure up the line in front of Kenny Pickett, and with the first pick of the second round from the Chase Claypool trade, this is a perfect spot to do it.

Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright is 6-foot-5, 333 pounds, and can play left or right tackle. At the NFL level, he projects more as an RT prospect, but throwing him in the mix as competition for both spots with Moore and Okorafor makes a lot of sense.

Round 2, Pick No. 49: Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army 

Pittsburgh has two excellent edge rushers in T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. However, as we saw last season, when Watt missed extended time, there isn’t much behind these two on the depth chart.

Andre Carter II is an interesting prospect. The Army rusher got a special dispensation to go into the NFL after college and defer his military service. This is a big deal as he’ll become just the second Army player drafted in the Super Bowl era (LB Caleb Campbell, seventh round, 2008) and by far the highest-drafted.  

Carter is a 6-foot-6 1/2, 256-pound edge-rusher who will fit best as a 3-4 OLB, perfect for the Steelers. He needs time to develop, but he’ll have that behind Watt and Highsmith, which is why he goes in the middle of the second in this Steelers mock draft.

Round 3, Pick No. 80: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU 

George Pickens and Diontae Johnson are two solid WRs, and if Pickens continues to develop, he could become a Pro Bowler. Still, Kenny Pickett needs some more weapons in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Kayshon Boutte from LSU is an interesting case. On tape, at times, he looks like a WR1 or WR2 at worst. Other times, he showed inconsistency, and he performed horribly at the combine. Some of that could be due to an ankle injury from 2021 that never healed properly.

Boutte is a high-risk, high-reward prospect, but in the third round, it’s a risk worth taking for the Steelers, especially in a draft that isn’t that dynamic at WR.


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