Steelers Land Three Huge-Identify Prospects In PFF’s Newest Two-Spherical Mock Draft

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine is upon us, which means we’re one step closer to the 2023 NFL Draft, which will be held in Kansas City this year.

Though some key offseason events still need to occur, such as the start of the new league year, free agency and pre-draft visits, the draft cycle rolls right along, continuing Monday morning with Pro Football Focus’ two-round mock draft from Trevor Sikemma. 

In Sikemma’s mock draft, the Steelers landed three big names with picks No. 17, 32 and 49, landing Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright, Georgia cornerback Kelee Ringo and Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee with their first three picks inside the top 50.

Wright and Bresee are popular names that continue to be connected to the Steelers at this point in the offseason, while Ringo was a name connected during the 2022 season before slowly disappearing due to some struggles on the field last season for the Bulldogs.

Still, that type of haul for the Steelers with their first three picks would be quite the start to the draft for the black and gold. All three selections address early needs, starting with Wright in the trenches as Sikemma does a good job pairing the Tennessee product with the Steelers, especially after Pittsburgh has shown early interest.

“A former five-star recruit, Wright had a fantastic Senior Bowl at his home base of right tackle,” Sikemma writes regarding the selection of Wright at No. 17 in his mock. “The Steelers could draft Wright, then flip Chukwuma Okorafor to his former position of left tackle, which he played at Western Michigan.”

Hypothetically, the Steelers could do that with Wright and then flip Okorafor to left tackle, but he’s never played left tackle in the NFL, switching to right tackle in the NFL once the Steelers drafted him and has never looked back. That’s not saying he couldn’t do it, but moving him off of his comfort zone at right tackle for a rookie doesn’t seem like a great idea.

Instead, the Steelers could draft Wright and flip him to left guard, where the team reportedly sees him as, at least according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Check out what Chandler Stroud had to say about Wright in his draft profile for the site.

Following the selection of Wright, Sikemma has the Steelers grabbing Ringo at No. 32, addressing a need at cornerback.

Prior to the offseason draft cycle at the start of 2023, Ringo was a consensus top-10 selection before the 2022 season, but he struggled in his redshirt sophomore campaign as he consistently got beat in coverage and struggled with mental lapses, even though Georgia’s defense was again dominant and won its second straight national championship.

Ringo, who sealed Georgia’s first national championship since 1984 in at the end of the 2021 season with a pick-six of likely No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young of Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game, is a bit raw overall in his instincts and overall technique for the position.

That could scare some teams off early in the 2023 NFL Draft, including the Steelers, who have struggled overall to identify talent at the position and develop them, Cameron Sutton aside.

However, you cannot teach Ringo’s size, speed and overall ball skills. He’s a twitched-up athlete, one that can thrive in man or zone in the NFL and can handle all types of receivers, be they the physical, contested catch type, or the short-area burst, freakish receivers that are nightmares in space.

Check out what Jonathan Heitritter had to say about Ringo in his draft profile for the site.

After the selection of Ringo, Sikemma has the Steelers landing Bresee at No. 49 overall, addressing the defensive line issues the Steelers have on the depth chart currently. Bresee, too, was also once considered a top-10 prospect in the draft class, but some of the shine has worn off for him, with more questions than answers surrounding him heading into the Combine. draft guru Daniel Jeremiah recently stated that Bresee is a tough evaluation for teams ahead of the Combine. 

“To me, he’s a tough player to evaluate because you see flashes of it,” Jeremiah said. “You see some of the flashes of the quickness. I know he has battled the injuries. I think there’s some stiffness there, and maybe some of it is injury related. But he’s not the loosest athlete. They move him around up and down the line of scrimmage. I just didn’t see somebody that was really explosive and fluid and loose. Like I thought he was kind of more of a tight athlete who’s got some power.

“That’s why I think you get into a little bit of a tough evaluation there. And I have talked to teams that really like him, and I’ve talked to teams that aren’t nearly as high of him and don’t see him as a first-round player.”

Heitritter graded Bresee as a second-round player for the site, which certainly raised some eyebrows. Depending on how the Combine, the medical checks and the interviews go with Bresee, he could rise back into that first round discussion. But right now he’s a large mystery.

Still, landing him at 49 overall would be a massive home run for the Steelers, especially along an aging defensive line.

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