Further adjustments will almost certainly be made by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2023 offseason. Recall that their depth chart still has a few vacant positions. They can, of course, do so through the draft. Here we’ll look at which rookie prospects the Steelers will draft with each of their picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Steelers have seven picks in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. These include three in the first two rounds. Keep in mind that they acquired a second-rounder and seventh-rounder through trades with the Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, and Denver Broncos. However, they gave up their 2023 fifth-round pick for CB Ahkello Witherspoon and a sixth-round pick for LB Malik Reed. The Steelers also traded WR Chase Claypool to the Bears in 2022. That earned them an extra second-round pick.
Yes, the Steelers’ draft plans are not as obvious as they have been in previous years. Still, it is reasonable to presume that the team will address weaknesses in the secondary, defensive line, receiver, and offensive tackle positions. The uncertain aspect, however, is which void will be the priority for coach Mike Tomlin and GM Omar Khan.
Let’s look at who the Steelers will choose in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 2023 NFL Mock Draft
1st round 17th overall pick: DL Calijah Kancey
For the second year in a row, the Steelers will use their first-round pick on a former Pitt Panther. Many may expect them to choose WR Jordan Addison. He is a former Pitt standout who had a productive partnership with current QB Kenny Pickett during their time at Pittsburgh. However, we expect the Steelers to actually choose Calijah Kancey instead.
Kancey is the most promising interior defensive line prospect from Pitt since Aaron Donald in 2014. At 6’0and 275 pounds, Kancey demonstrated impressive skills in reaching the passer during his final two college seasons. In fact, he accumulated 14.5 sacks. He also showed consistency in disrupting opposing backfields, recording 34.5 tackles for loss. The Steelers’ line would offer Kancey an ideal situation. He would have the support of perennial Pro Bowler Cameron Heyward and fellow veteran Larry Ogunjobi.
He’s an outlier with his size, but Pittsburgh DT Calijah Kancey is just so damn good that I don’t think it matters.
Absurdly athletic DL, deep arsenal of pass-rushing moves, great leverage and football IQ. Might have top-5 tape of anyone in this class. pic.twitter.com/8xh0odS7uO
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 8, 2023
2nd round 32nd overall pick: DB Brian Branch
We believe that Alabama’s Brian Branch would still be available at the No. 32 spot. The Steelers would benefit greatly from selecting him. This is particularly if they do not choose a defensive back with their No. 17 overall pick.
One of Branch’s primary strengths is his versatility. This is precisely what the Steelers are looking for in their defensive backfield. With the recent signing of eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson, the Steelers are considering moving him to free safety. That would allow Minkah Fitzpatrick to shift to strong safety. This would leave a vacancy at cornerback that Branch could potentially fill if he is capable of making the transition.
Take note that Branch demonstrated his ability to excel in various positions throughout his time at Alabama, He even displayed his tackling abilities at every level of the defense. As a result, he would be a valuable addition to a secondary that aims to be among the league’s top units once again.
2nd round 49th overall pick: CB Emmanuel Forbes
The Steelers need coverage help for Peterson, and Emmanuel Forbes could be a good fit. He has the versatility to play well in both zone and man coverage. Forbes is also a long, lean cornerback with excellent speed, ball skills, and potential to become a starter down the road. Although he is undersized, Forbes has room to add weight to his frame once he makes it to the NFL.
3rd round 80th overall pick: LB Henry To’o To’o
In the third round, the Steelers should Henry To’o To’o. He has good linear speed and fluid hips but lacks lateral movement and change of direction. That said, he could potentially become a backup and spot starter who contributes on special teams. His speed and physicality could be assets at the next level. To’o To’o could also be a good fit as a “WILL” linebacker for a team looking to add some depth to the position.
4th round 120th overall pick: EDGE Isaiah McGuire
Isaiah McGuire would be a good pick for the Steelers here. This is especially if since they likely won’t bring back Bud Dupree. McGuire is a productive pass rusher. He had 14.5 sacks, 28 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles in his last two seasons with the Missouri Tigers. He’s also effective at stopping the run, which should help him see more playing time beyond passing situations. McGuire is a versatile player whose athleticism would complement the Steelers’ defense.
7th round 234th overall pick: OT Carter Warren
The Steelers need depth at tackle, and Carter Warren would be a good choice. Recall that Warren protected Kenny Pickett’s blind side at Pitt. Despite injuries limiting him to just four games last season, he started in each of Pitt’s games in 2021. Warren has good pass-protection skills, physical attributes, and hand technique. He also looked pretty healthy at January’s Shrine Bowl.
7th round 241st overall pick: RB Keaton Mitchell
With Benny Snell still unsigned, the Steelers need depth at running back. Keaton Mitchell would be a good roll of the dice here. He is a speedy runner who averaged 6.5 yards per carry in college, with 1,452 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns last season alone. He also ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which could make him a popular choice. The Steelers would be wise to draft him if he’s still available.