Breaking down the Steelers picks in ESPN’s new mock draft
ESPN NFL draft analyst Matt Miller has put out a brand new two-round mock draft for 2023 and we had to give it a look to see about the three picks for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Let’s break down those picks and see if Miller got it right for the Steelers.
First round-Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
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The biggest need in Pittsburgh this offseason is along the offensive line, but with the top three tackles already off the board, the Steelers could pivot to the secondary. Gonzalez has a unique blend of traits and production. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback is expected to test really well at the combine, with one area scout predicting times in the 4.3-second range in the 40-yard dash. But Gonzalez is more than “just” a high-level speed player; he had four interceptions and seven pass breakups in 2022 after transferring from Colorado. He’s a perfect match of need and value, and — spoiler — Pittsburgh could wait until Round 2 to address the O-line with a pair of picks
John Michael Schmitz, C, Minnesota
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The Steelers need an offensive line makeover, and Schmitz is my top-ranked center and a legitimate top-32 prospect. His quickness and power as a second-level blocker were on display at the Senior Bowl and would immediately help the Pittsburgh unit.
Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
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The Steelers got a cornerback and a center with their first two picks and now find a left tackle of the future here. Harrison could be a target for teams earlier on Day 2 due to great length, fluid movement and a lot of upside. He’s 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, and NFL scouts I’ve spoken to say they believe he’ll continue to improve once he gets in an NFL conditioning and strength program.
6. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams) — Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
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This would be a rock-solid draft for the Steelers. I’m not a huge fan of drafting a cornerback in the first round but landing Schmitz and Harrison with the next two picks helps in a big way. I would much prefer a different position in the first round but this played out about as poorly as it could for the Steelers with many of the top guys already off the board.
Miller has Clemson defensive stars Trent Simpson and Bryan Bresee lower than I do and I would love to see them as the team’s two second-round picks if the team could land an offensive lineman in the first round. In fact, I’d take either one over Schmitz given the option.