Why the Steelers Shouldn't Draft Former Pitt Panther Jordan Addison


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It's official, the 2022-2023 NFL season has officially come to a close.  Congratulations are in order for the Kansas City Chiefs.  They won one of the more entertaining Super Bowls that I can recall in recent memory, an appropriate ending to what was a pretty entertaining football season.  Now that the season is over, it's time I start turning my attention towards the upcoming NFL draft.  The Pittsburgh Steelers have the 17th pick, which I will be discussing in the coming weeks with potential options for them at that draft slot.

I'm the type of person who doesn't like to dive into mock drafts too early.  I know they were circulating the internet in abundance as soon as the regular season ended, but that's way too early for my liking.  So much can happen leading up to the draft that can greatly alter picks, especially so in December and January.  As a result, I hadn't paid too much attention to what these mock drafts were predicting for the Steelers' first round selection.

So, much to my surprise, when I began to look at them this week, I saw a lot of talk from those first mock drafts revolving around the Steelers choosing USC wide receiver Jordan Addison.  The former Pitt standout, who caused waves by transferring from Pitt following the 2021 season, was definitely not what I was expecting to see given the Steelers' current standing.

There is no doubt that Addison has the talent to succeed at a high level in the NFL.  That is pretty evident from watching him during his two years at Pitt.  In his last season as a Panther, he had 100 catches for 1,593 yards, along with 17 touchdowns.  Those are some impressive numbers, and a good part of the reason why he is currently projected to be a first-round pick come draft time.  So the confusion for seeing him being projected as the Steelers' top choice has nothing to do with his talent.  Instead, it's that he doesn't fit the Steelers' current needs.

It's no secret how successful the Steelers have been at drafting wide receivers.  And last year looks like it was no exception.  Rookie George Pickens showed time after time just how brilliant of a career he can have.  By the end of the season, he and quarterback Kenny Pickett appeared to have quite the rookie connection.  It's a big part of why this offense shows a lot of promise and gives Steelers' fans a lot of hope for the future.  Pickens, along with fellow receiver Diontae Johnson and tight end Pat Freiermuth pack a punch against opposing defenses.  We also didn't see rookie receiver Calvin Austin play at all last season, whose speed could add another dimension to an already potent receiving corps.

Therefore, the Steelers don't need to spend their first-round pick on a receiver.  Especially when you consider that they've showed a propensity to hit big on receivers later on in the draft.  Their focus should be more so set on a cornerback or offensive lineman.  Both are areas that could use big upgrades.  I understand the Pitt connection and how badly all Panthers fans would love to see Addison reunited with Pickett, given how successful they were together.  But it just doesn't make sense for the future of the Steelers.  It's easy to point to the connection that Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase possess having played together in college, but Pickett may already have that with Pickens.

How soon we forget that not all that long ago, the big gripe was how bad the Steelers' offensive line was.  Heading into last season, they chose to patch it with free-agent signings instead of using any draft capital on improving it.  That led to better line play, but nothing that showed any long-term promise.  This is still an area that needs attention and could be a top priority.  

On the other side of the ball, since the departure of Joe Haden, the Steelers haven't yet found the top cornerback they've been seeking.  A lot could change in the coming week but as of now, this feels like the position most likely to see the 17th pick used on.  Especially if the Steelers can't retain Cam Sutton.

As I mentioned at the top, leading up to the draft I'll be dropping some blogs dedicated to certain players that the Steelers might have their eyes on with their first round pick.  Unless something changes, I don't anticipate one of those featuring Jordan Addison.  It's fun to think about, but using the 17th pick on a receiver, no matter the talent level, just isn't practical for a Steelers team that has much bigger concerns than upgrading their receivers' room.