The Steelers handed their offense over to Kenny Pickett last season, but they need to surround him with more talent to win in 2023.
Mike Tomlin managed to lead the Steelers to a winning record last year, but it was only good for third place in the AFC North. If Pittsburgh is going to overcome the Ravens and Bengals, they need to land an immediate starter with their first round draft selection.
The team’s biggest hope for improvement is the continued maturation of Kenny Pickett. The good news is that the Steelers have already surrounded him with a quality group of skill players. Acquiring some better protection for the young quarterback could be a consideration when the team goes on the clock with the No. 17 overall selection in Round 1.
Losing Cam Sutton in free agency was a bitter pill for the team to swallow at cornerback, but the hope is that Patrick Peterson can fill in as a starter for at least one more season. The team’s pass defense is still a major need heading into the draft even after the addition of Peterson. The defensive front could also benefit from an injection of youth. Drafting a second consecutive hometown star in Round 1 could be the way to go for the Steelers.
Players the Steelers take in the first round of the NFL Draft
5. DT Calijah Kancey
Kancey is drawing comparisons to Aaron Donald and it’s not just because he also played his college ball at Pittsburgh. The two are also similar because they lack the desired size for the defensive tackle position but still manage to wreck opposing offenses.
The Steelers are one team that could look to draft Kancey and give him some snaps at defensive end in their three-man front. His short arms might prevent him from ever being an elite pass-rusher, but he’s got the destructive quality Tomlin likes to see in his defensive lineman.