Steelers 7-round 2023 projection protects Kenny Pickett |

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Steelers NFL Mock Draft 2023 Kenny Pickett

Dawand Jones, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

The Steelers need to protect Kenny Pickett in every way possible with the 2023 NFL Draft, which is the goal in this 7-round NFL Mock Draft for Pittsburgh.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers want to get the best out of 2022 first-round pick and new franchise quarterback Kenny Pickett, there’s one thing that needs to be at the top of their priority list: protecting Kenny Pickett.

Obviously, a big part of that comes on the offensive line to, quite literally, protect the Steelers quarterback who was under constant duress in his rookie season. However, there is more to it than that. Protecting Pickett could also mean surrounding him with more weapons and, perhaps more importantly, making sure the defense stays the strength of the team to lessen the pressure on the young signal-caller.

In free agency, the Steelers made some solid efforts in this regard, signing veterans like LB Cole Holcomb, CB Patrick Peterson, LB Elandon Roberts, S Damontae Kazee and S Keanu Neal, among others, to bolster the defense while making a big splash on the offensive line landing guard Isaac Seumalo. However, some of those moves are short-term options and, frankly, band-aids to replace some losses. That’s where the 2023 NFL Draft comes into focus.

As Pittsburgh eyes the draft, the goal is still to protect Kenny Pickett and put him the best position to maximize his ability. That’s what they’d do if they followed this 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft for the Steelers.

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NFL Mock Draft 2023: Steelers 7-round projection focuses on protecting Kenny Pickett


Dawand Jones

OT Ohio State

Dawand Jones has been connected to the Steelers and makes perfect sense

As long as you’re paying attention, Pittsburgh has often made it pretty clear under Mike Tomlin where their interest lies in the first round of the draft. So with the head coach talking about offensive tackles earlier this offseason, concerns about the viability of Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle, and with the visits they’ve had with prospects, things are pointing in one direction.

That direction is the behemoth from Ohio State, Dawand Jones.

Tipping the scales at 374 pounds and measuring in at 6-foot-8, Jones quite literally casts a long shadow, but he has the play and skill to back that up. Obviously, he’s no freak athlete at that size, but he’s extremely adept at using his absurd length and girth to control defenders on the edge and has developed with his footwork over that time as well.

Because of his physical/athletic limitations, Jones figures to be a right tackle at the NFL level, a la what the Ravens had hoped they could keep doing with Orlando Brown Jr. once upon a time. With Chuks Okorafor having played on the left side, though, that’s a situation the Steelers could definitely work with.

Jones has already had a Top 30 visit with Pittsburgh back in March and that seems to signal where the franchise’s intentions lie. In fact, it’s starting to look like it’d be a surprise if the pick at No. 17 wasn’t Jones at this point.

Rounds 3-4 | Round 7

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