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Steelers should head back down to Georgia in NFL Draft

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By: Mike Nicastro

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The black and gold have reportedly with multiple players from Georgia at the NFL Combine

The Steelers have carved out a pit stop in the Peach State over the last few years. In the 2022 NFL Draft, they selected Georgia WR George Pickens with the 52nd overall pick in the second round.

Pickens led the black and gold in receptions (63), and yards (1,140), and tied for receiving TDs (5) in 2023. He also finished second in the NFL in yards per reception (17.5).

And just last year, GM Omar Khan and his team selected Georgia OT Broderick Jones in round one (pick 14), and TE Darnell Washington in round four with the 93rd selection.

All of these players helped contribute to a playoff berth last season. So why not go back to the well?

There are about a baker’s dozen of Bulldogs that could be selected in the upcoming draft. Here are a few that Pittsburgh should strongly consider.

OT Amarius Mims – Projected round: First

If you follow the draft closely, you’ve probably seen Mims frequently mocked to the Steelers at pick 20. He’s a physically gifted tackle with an incredibly high ceiling. He could start at right tackle and Broderick Jones can move to his natural position and kick back out to the left side.

The only concern with Mims is his lack of experience. He started just eight games for Georgia and Pittsburgh may want someone who can immediately hold down a starting role.

It was confirmed that Pittsburgh met with Mims at the combine.

CB Kamari Lassiter – Projected round: Second

Defensive back is another major position of need for the black and gold and Lassiter would be a wonderful addition to the backend. He’s a physical specimen who has experience in both man and zone. He’s also a very high IQ player, something Pittsburgh generally prioritizes just as much as the physical traits. His route recognition skills allow him to make interceptions like the one below look routine:

The Steelers met with Lassiter at the combine.

S Javon Bullard – Projected round: Second

Bullard is one of my favorite players in the draft. He ran a blazing 4.47 at the combine, which puts him in the top percentile of projected safeties. He’s versatile and can play corner as well.

Bullard is not afraid to get under a receiver’s chin in press and will come downhill like a bullet to make highlight-reel tackles. His ball skills are also elite, and he’ll generally find himself around the football.

If there’s one knock, he did give up a lot of chunk plays, but he has the speed to make up for some of his mistakes.

And yep, you guessed it – he had an informal meeting with the Steelers in Indianapolis.

C Sedrick Van Pran – Projected round: Second-Third

Another confirmed combine meeting here, it appears that Van Pran has slid down the board a bit due to concerns about his athleticism. However, his leadership and true bulldog mentality should have a center-needy team like the Steelers ranking him higher on their draft board than most other teams.

His aggressiveness makes up for his lack of length. I mentioned earlier that Mims has started only eight games – which is nearly a fifth of Van Pran’s total starts – as he anchored Georgia’s line in 48 games, including the 2023 National championship win over TCU.

S Tykee Smith – Projected round: Fourth

A West Virginia transfer, Smith has some “Kwon Alexander” to his game. He’s listed as a safety, but often plays the “star” position, which essentially is an additional linebacker.

He’s not going to be elite in coverage, but if Alexander is not re-signed, Smith would fill his spot eloquently – in a role that Pittsburgh strongly values.

WR Ladd McConkey – Projected round: Second

Surprise! Why not throw one of the best pass-catchers on this list? While it’s unlikely Pittsburgh leans that way in the first round, which is where McConkey is projected to be selected, you can’t rule it out completely.

McConkey, one of the most prolific wideouts in Georgia history, is a polished route-runner with elite quickness out of his breaks.

He reminds me of Rams star WR Puka Nacua in that he just always seems a way to find himself open.

He’s going to play over a decade in this league at a high level and will immediately help an offense as a plug-and-play guy. And he’s aware he has some friends in the Steel City:

DT Zion Logue – Projected round: Fifth

Logue won’t be the first Bulldog off the board, but he’s another experienced guy hoping to follow in the footsteps of recent Georgia standouts Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis up front.

Standing at 6’5, 315 lbs. – Logue’s role is to be a space-eater and free up athletic linebackers. Pittsburgh could use depth in the trenches as the status of free agent Montravius Adams remains in question.

I didn’t even include all-world TE Brock Bowers and a bevy of running backs on this list, assuming they won’t garner much interest given the fact that those positions on the roster are stable. That’s how much talent this SEC powerhouse produces!

I’m confident that once more the Steelers will select at least one player from their new favorite school because one thing is for certain – Georgia bulldogs are just a different breed.

Originally posted on Behind the Steel Curtain – All Posts