Steelers mock draft: Adding a quarterback sleeper and strengthening the offensive line

The Pittsburgh Steelers used an old-school strategy at the 2023 NFL Draft, going for the trenches early and often in an attempt to revert to their ground-and-pound heritage despite having a new front office.


Omar Khan took the field with his first-ever selection as the general manager. He addressed the offensive line and gained notoriety as the “Khan Artist” by trading up to choose Georgia lineman Broderick Jones. In order to maintain their emphasis on the line of scrimmage, the Steelers selected defensive lineman Keeanu Benton in the second round and then tight end Darnell Washington, who is so large that he proudly refers to himself as the “sixth lineman.”


Assistant general manager Andy Weidl clarified a few days later what the picks meant in terms of the new front office’s mentality, in case there was any doubt.


Weidl declared, “We want to be a big, physical team.” The Pittsburgh Steelers are who we are. Through the lines, you construct. You put money into that. Football is that. That will always remain the line of scrimmage in football in our minds.


The arrival of Isaac Seumalo as a free agent and the Jones selection helped the offensive line start to become better. It’s no accident that the Steelers developed into the fifth-best rushing assault in the NFL (145 yards per game) from the moment Jones earned his first start at right tackle in Week 9 until the end of the year.


The hire of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith by the Steelers this summer seems to be a further commitment to their run-heavy philosophy. He had four rushing attacks that placed in the top 10 during his five seasons as a play caller (three in Atlanta and two in Tennessee). In terms of rushes, the Titans placed third in 2019 and second in 2020. In terms of rushes, the Falcons placed third in 2022 and ninth in 2023.


The offensive line needs to be turned from one of the team’s obvious flaws into a strength if this is the offense the Steelers want to play.


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