Following a flurry of moves in the early stages of absolutely free agency, Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan now has some actual flexibility getting into the 2023 NFL Draft, in particular in the very first round.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson, linebackers Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, interior offensive lineman Nate Herbig, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and security Damontae Kazee are all anticipated to be Steelers moving forward. Even though these moves are fascinating and surely address some holes, there are a couple of that stay for the Steelers.
For CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards, the very first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is a superior spot to address a single of these holes. In his most recent mock draft, Edwards has the Steelers grabbing Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright at No. 17 general.
“A run on left tackles has occurred, but Pittsburgh could stand to upgrade each positions,” Edwards writes concerning his choice for the Steelers in his most recent mock draft. “Darnell Wright has verified to be an athletic player who has shown improvement due to the fact final year. He upgrades the protection for Kenny Pickett and Najee Harris.”
Outstanding rep right here from Tennessee RT Darnell Wright. Good feet to mirror Alabama EDGE Will Anderson. Great patience to not fire hands initially, staying square to Anderson with footwork ahead of punching late to win rep.
You never see quite a few OTs performing that to Anderson. pic.twitter.com/Z4iSS2IKbm
— Josh Carney (@ByJoshCarney) February 20, 2023
Even though Wright may possibly be a plug-and-play ideal tackle, it does not specifically repair the Steelers’ offensive line, at least the way quite a few think it desires to be fixed. Steelers ideal tackle Chukwuma Okorafor was strong final season in pass protection and passable as a run blocker, pairing with James Daniels on the ideal side of the offensive line to type a stout pairing.
Okafor may possibly not specifically match what the Steelers want at the position in their run-heavy method, which is a mauler at ideal tackle. Okorafor is far more athletic and a finesse guy, rather than a brute-strength sort of player. That is what Wright profiles as, although he is extremely raw.
The Steelers have shown interest in Wright, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Fowler stated that there is belief in the league that Wright could kick inside to guard, and that is exactly where the Steelers could see him, creating him a match in Pittsburgh.
Had a blast speaking football with Tennessee RT Darnell Wright for my very first 2023 NFL Draft film space. A single factor that stands out on film studying Wright is his competitive toughness and finish. Some of our discussion with examples right here.
Complete film space: https://t.co/8JT9JSzOFY pic.twitter.com/IP4o0Chlpw
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) February 14, 2023
At 6’5″, 342 pounds, Wright surely fits the profile of what the Steelers are hunting for in the trenches. He would be a superior addition for depth and competitors for guys like Okorafor or left guard Kevin Dotson, based on how the Steelers view.
Steelers Depot’s personal Chandler Stroud profiled Wright ahead of the draft and had this to say about the Volunteer in his draft profile:
“Darnell Wright’s game has such a low floor, but it feels initially that his game has an extremely higher ceiling as nicely. He won in various methods against opponents in various games, but his execution is going to have to develop into considerably far more constant. Lunging at defenders was anything that hindered him slightly and against the quicker rushers of the planet like T.J. Watt, that basically will not do. He have to study to play quicker, basically place. Nevertheless, he has terrific strength that showed up in a multitude of methods. He is not going to throw guys out of the club regularly, but a single glaring factor about his game is the guy knows exactly where the ball is going, and he knows how to get himself among defenders and the ball carrier.”
In Edwards’s mock, players like Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., and Georgia’s Broderick Jones had been currently off the board by the time the Steelers came up at No. 17 general. So also had been cornerbacks Joey Porter Jr. and Christian Gonzalez, although Devon Witherspoon was on the board — he went a single choose later at No. 18 to Detroit — as was a common name like Alabama cornerback-security hybrid Brian Branch.
It will be fascinating to see how absolutely free agency continues setting up the draft board a specific way for Pittsburgh. Wright would be a superior addition to an offensive line that was rebuilt final season and performed above expectations. But he feels like a ideal tackle or a guard, rather than a left tackle, which may possibly not specifically address the Steelers’ greatest general have to have general.