NFL Draft Notebook: Steelers Bolster Roster in Mock Draft, Rookie of the Week, and More!

2023 NFL Mock Draft, Peter Skoronski. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
2023 NFL Mock Draft, Peter Skoronski. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers have several young playmakers in Kenny Pickett, Najee Harris, and George Pickens. However, for these players to live up to their potential, they will need to address their offensive line. In this week’s NFL Draft Notebook we have the Steelers adding a couple of key additions to the trenches in our latest mock draft.

In addition to previewing what the Steelers may do in the NFL Draft, this week’s article highlights a rookie who had a standout week, a punter who could be an interesting NFL Draft evaluation, and much more!

Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft

Round 1, Pick 13: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
The Steelers biggest need this offseason is the offensive line, and with this pick Pittsburgh gets a potential franchise left tackle. Skoronski is a fundamentally sound offensive tackle and is similar to Chargers’ offensive tackle Rashawn Slater.

Round 2, Pick 34: Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah
The Steelers have several cornerbacks that are set to hit free agency this offseason, so addressing the cornerback position is a smart move. Pittsburgh snags Utah corner, Clark Phillips, with the pick they received from Chicago in exchange for Chase Claypool. Phillips is one of the best ballhawks in the country, having recorded six interceptions last year.

Round 2, Pick 44: Noah Sewell, MLB, Oregon
There is a good chance the Steelers will lose Devin Bush in free agency and draft his replacement with this pick. Sewell is the pick in this mock draft. The former Oregon defender is a big, physical linebacker who would be an ideal fit in the team’s 3-4 defense.

Round 3, Pick 75: Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
The Steelers add a defensive player with their third straight pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. While Kancey played defensive tackle in college he could be a perfect fit as a defensive end in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense.

Round 4, Pick 112: Zion Nelson, OT, Miami
Pittsburgh addresses the offensive line again with their first, day-three pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. In the first pick of the mock draft, they selected a player who should be able to start on day one with Peter Skoronski. The selection of Zion Nelson gives them more of a developmental player. Even though Nelson will take time to polish his game, he has the natural athletic ability to eventually develop into a starter down the road.

Round 6, Pick 189: Justin Ford, CB, Montana
In the sixth round of this mock draft, Pittsburgh addresses its secondary again. This time they get a small school corner, Justin Ford, who shows the size and instincts to make an impact in the NFL.

Round 7, Pick 230: Puka Nacua, WR, BYU
With their last pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers add one of the biggest sleepers in the 2023 NFL Draft according to Shaunak Harit of NFL Mocks. Nacua is a good-sized receiver who has the speed to stretch a defense and could develop into a solid No. 3 receiver.

Rookie of the Week

This past weekend we saw several outstanding performances, especially from mid-round NFL Draft picks. A couple of the performances that stood out included San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy, who had his second impressive week, and Atlanta running back Tyler Allgeier, who rushed for 100+ yards for the first time in his NFL career. However, this week’s rookie of the week is Houston linebacker, Christian Harris.

In his game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Harris showed the ability to make plays in all areas of the game. He finished the day with a career-high 14 tackles and showed the ability to make plays from sideline to sideline. He also made several other impressive plays on the day, recording three tackles for loss and one sack.

This offseason should feature plenty of turnover in Houston, with the team likely having the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and a total of 13 draft picks. However, one player who is currently on the roster that should be penciled in as a starter next year is Christian Harris.

NFL Draft Scouting Notes

— One team who has already landed a couple of key players in the transfer portal is the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes landed quarterback Cade McNamara and tight end Erick All  both from Michigan. The top prospect out of this bunch is All, who carried a fourth-round grade on my board before the 2022 season. Unfortunately, All missed most of this season with a season-ending injury and was only able to come away with three receptions this season.

— A player who really stands out on film is LSU safety, Jay Ward. The former cornerback has the ability to cover slot receivers and also the length to match up well with tight ends coming in at 6-foot-2 and 188 pounds. Along with his ability to stick with receivers in the passing game, he is also an aggressive tackler against the run game. This combination allows him to play either strong or free safety in the NFL, which will only help his draft stock.

— It will be interesting to see how NFL teams value Rutgers punter Adam Korsak. On one hand, he does a great job of directional punting and his punts are extremely hard to return. These are some of the reasons why he was able to set the NCAA record last year with a 42.25 net yard average. However, he is also an Australian punter who does take some time to get his punts off. He only has average leg strength, which could also concern NFL decision-makers.

Quote of the Week

“Their punter is… I think one of the more impressive players that we’ve played this year, regardless of position.”

-Penn State head coach James Franklin on Rutger’s punter Adam Korsak