Steelers draft picks critical for upcoming season success



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The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2022 season with a record of 9-8. The team has big hopes for the future after winning five of their last six games of the season. With this wave of momentum in mind, what could they do in the off season to improve their team for next year?

With plenty of top prospects to choose from in the 2023 NFL draft, the Steelers will most likely look toward the draft for new players. The Steelers hold the seventeenth pick in the first round of the draft, and multiple reporters have speculated  they may take a cornerback, defensive lineman or even an offensive lineman. With the offensive and defensive lines improving throughout the season; however, many agree that the cornerback position is where the Steelers need the most help. The cornerback position is very questionable currently with rumors circulating around that the Steelers are potentially letting Cam Sutton leave this off season. With all of this in mind, the question remains: who could they draft? 

Top cornerback prospects include Devon Witherspoon of Illinois, Cam Smith of South Carolina and the son of former Steelers great Joey Porter Jr. of Penn State. These three players have each had phenomenal success in the NCAA with Devon Witherspoon arguably being the best of the three. WItherspoon finished out his 2022 season with a career high three interceptions and 17 passes defended to go along with a total of 42 tackles. Witherspoon was also named consensus All-American by voters which is another factor that puts him above Smith and Porter who had less than half of Witherspoon’s numbers during the 2022 season. 

Devon Witherspoon’s physicality is just one more reason  the Steelers should have their eyes on him during this draft. NFL analysts describe Witherspoon as having a striker’s mentality in run support and as a tackler versus the pass. This is much needed in the AFC North which has talented runners such as Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, and Lamar Jackson that can easily get into the secondary.

The Steelers hope to find some hidden gems in this year’s draft to help with their future campaign. Players like cornerback Devon Witherspoon may be just what they need for that help.