Predicting Steelers' Early 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
The Kenny Pickett selection likely means the Steelers are out of the quarterback market for the 2023 NFL draft, which is expected to have a high level of talent at the position.
If everything goes well for Pickett in his rookie season, Pittsburgh will not even think about C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young and others next spring.
The ideal goal for the Steelers in 11 months is to load up on players who can help Pickett succeed and who can keep the franchise in the mix for a postseason berth.
Pittsburgh will have plenty of time to zero in on its top candidates between now and next April, but there are a few players who should already be on the mind of those in the front office.
Will Anderson Jr., LB, Alabama
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. was probably ready to enter the NFL after his sophomore season.
The top defensive prospect in the 2023 NFL draft class should spend his junior season terrorizing every offensive line that faces him.
Anderson produced 17.5 sacks last season for the Crimson Tide. It would not be surprising if he hits the 20-sack mark in 2022.
Anderson should be the No. 1 player on the draft boards for every team that does not need a quarterback in next year's draft.
Pittsburgh should list Anderson at the top of its list, but it has to hope that it does not get a chance to consider picking the Alabama phenom.
The Steelers are expected to be in playoff contention every season. A significant drop-off would have to happen for them to be in the mix for Anderson come April.
Anything could happen in the next 11 months, though. After all, Pickett was not a top-tier quarterback prospect at this time last year.
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Pittsburgh could get even younger at wide receiver during the next offseason.
Diontae Johnson's four-year rookie deal expires at the end of the season. He will be an unrestricted free agent if a new deal does not come to fruition.
The Steelers may be willing to let Johnson go if 2022 second-round pick George Pickens thrives in his rookie season.
The AFC North side could also target a wide out in the first round of the 2023 draft to provide cover for Johnson's loss.
LSU's Kayshon Boutte averaged over 13 yards per catch in his first two collegiate seasons. He also had 14 touchdown catches.
Boutte's nine-touchdown season in 2021 came inside a lackluster offense in a program waiting for change to happen.
Boutte's stock could rise even more in 2022 with Brian Kelly in charge at a reinvigorated LSU.
The LSU product could be the No. 1 wide receiver in the draft class and still land in the middle of the first round because of how popular the quarterbacks could be.
Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern
Pittsburgh's best-case scenario for the next few months includes new contracts for Minkah Fitzpatrick and Diontae Johnson and a successful rookie season out of Pickett.
If all of that comes to fruition, the Steelers should look to bolster their protection for Pickett in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.
Northwestern offensive lineman Peter Skoronski is one of the early favorites to land in the top half of the first round.
CBS Sports projected Skoronski as the first offensive lineman off the board in one of its early mock drafts.
Northwestern may not be the first place fans turn to watch prospects, but this is the same school that developed Rashawn Slater.
Skoronski will get tested by elite edge rushers each week in the Big Ten. That will give Mike Tomlin and his staff and others across the league a better look at his skill set.
As always, the projected order of the draft class could change in 11 months, but Skoronski is one to watch if the Steelers look for offensive line upgrades.