Steelers Are Biggest Winners Of 2023 NFL Draft Order Shakeup

Mike Tomlin, Omar Khan, Steelers
NFL Analysis Network

The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the season playing as well as any team in the NFL. They capped off their 2022 regular season with a victory over the Cleveland Browns, pushing their winning streak to four games. While that wasn’t enough to push them into the postseason, everyone within that building has to be excited about the direction they are heading after winning six out of their last seven games and finishing 9-8.

That late-season surge kept Mike Tomlin’s impressive record of consecutive seasons to start a head coaching career without a losing one. That now stands at 16 and the Steelers are in a great spot to continue that for years to come.

Pittsburgh has their franchise quarterback in Kenny Pickett, who improved every week of the season and was lights out in recent weeks in crunch time. He has an emerging star at wide receiver in George Pickens, who makes for a good duo with Diontae Johnson. 

Rookie fourth-round pick Calvin Austin missed the entire season because of injury but is another explosive weapon for Pickett to grow alongside with. Najee Harris got things going in the second half after a slow start. Pat Freiermuth was solid once again at tight end. When healthy, this was one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL once again led by T.J. Watt.

While there are areas to improve upon, the Steelers will have the assets to address them. Pittsburgh will essentially have two first-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft as they were the biggest winners of what was a wacky Week 18.

Ahead of the 2022 trade deadline, the Steelers traded wide receiver Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a second-round pick. However, the Bears surrendered their own second-rounder, not the one that was acquired from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for Roquan Smith.

That draft pick accrued more and more value as the season went on as Chicago didn’t win a game after the deadline, finishing the season on a 10-game losing streak. That, coupled with the Houston Texans winning two out of their last three games after starting the season 1-12-1, led to the Bears landing the No. 1 overall pick.

Because the Miami Dolphins were docked a first-round pick as part of the investigation into tampering with Tom Brady, the Steelers will now own the No. 32 overall pick in the draft, courtesy of the Bears. That will give the Steelers multiple chances to add immediate, impact players in the 2023 NFL Draft to round out their roster.

Pittsburgh will be on the clock at No. 17 and No. 32. Expect them to target the trenches with those selections as they need help along the offensive line and defensive line. If the value doesn’t match up, help in the secondary at cornerback would make a lot of sense.

Heading into the offseason with plenty of momentum, the Steelers are a team many people will pick as one team to go from missing the playoffs in 2022 to qualifying the following season.

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