This is the sixth in a 10-part series that concludes on April 26, the day before the 2023 NFL Draft starts. Each day Depot staff members offer their spin on a Steelers-related draft question.
The Steelers are hell-bent on drafting a wide receiver with pick #17. Who are you taking? No wide receiver is off the board when they make their first pick.
Joe Cammarota: If the Steelers are hell-bent on a receiver at 17, I think they should go with Jordan Addison. He is a really good route runner, and he already has a strong connection with quarterback Kenny Pickett. Addison can play in the slot, a need for this team, but can also play outside as well. If wide receiver Diontae Johnson leaves in free agency, they will need an X receiver and because Addison possesses high-level route running he can slot into that X role. After the addition of Allen Robinson, a receiver early definitely isn’t a need anymore, but if the Steelers are hell-bent on drafting one might as well take one with inside-out flexibility who already has chemistry with their young franchise quarterback.
Josh Carney: No wide receivers off the board when the Steelers are on the clock at No. 17 overall? Give me Ohio State’s Jaxson Smith-Njigba. He’s the answer in the slot, even without the insane testing numbers. Elite route runner, very good after the catch, a quarterback’s best friend. That’s the easy answer. But I keep coming back to North Carolina’s Josh Downs. That guy is so good. Can play inside and out, plays much, much bigger than his size (5102, 175). He should be in the discussion for the first round, but his size knocks him down a bit. I think he’d be a fantastic fit in Pittsburgh, especially with his YAC ability.
Joe Clark: One guy I can’t ignore is Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. He was primarily a slot guy in college, and even with Allen Robinson in the fold, JSN is the one guy I wouldn’t be upset with at No. 17. He just checks so many boxes as a receiver with his route running and YAC ability, and Kenny Pickett would love having him as a target in the slot. His last year at OSU was riddled with injury, which is a concern, but he’s the most talented guy receiver in the class and he would add another legitimate receiving threat to Pittsburgh’s offense. It’s an easy answer but he would be my guy if they were dead set on drafting a wide receiver.
Jonathan Heitritter: If I had to choose a WR to take at #17, I’m going with Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The Ohio State WRs considered him the best of the bunch when future first-rounders Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave were there along with Marvin Harrison Jr., who is the favorite to be WR1 next year. He was hampered by a hamstring injury last season, but he tore up college football in 2021 and is the perfect fit in the slot alongside George Pickens and Diontae Johnson on the outside. A nuanced route runner in the mold of Amon Ra St. Brown and Cooper Kupp, JSN could become a force in the NFL.
Alex Kozora: So I get my pick of any WR I want? This isn’t a top-heavy class with no clear #1 name, though Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba will probably come off the board first. I’ll throw out a crazy answer on an underrated guy. The Steelers need speed. All their championship teams had it. Sure, Calvin Austin III is there but he’s coming off foot surgery. Give me Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims. He’s a serious sleeper. Every time I watch an Oklahoma game, the dude is making splash plays. 123 career catches. 19.5 yards per catch. 20 touchdowns. Good punt returner. He’s electric. Give me a DeSean Jackson type and open up this offense. He might not be the class’s best WR but he’s the Steelers’ best fit.
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Previous Depot draft discussions:
Best draft pick in Steelers history