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Mel Kiper Mock Draft: Steelers look to add to their young secondary

For the majority of the NFL it is officially mock draft season, and while this is depressing for most fans, it is also an exciting time of the year. No matter what anyone says, mock drafts are a great way to learn about the hierarchy of the upcoming draft. On top of that, it is a way to get to know some of the college prospects who are declaring for the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

When it comes to mock drafts, some are considered more legit than others. While some might not view Mel Kiper Jr.’s work as legitimate, based on his past accuracy, he is still the most discussed draft analysis in the game today. Tuesday Kiper posted his first mock draft of 2024, and it is interesting to see how the board fell, and who he had tabbed to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 20th overall draft pick.

With all of that being said, let’s take a look at Kiper’s first mock draft of 2024:

Mel Kiper Jr. Mock Draft 1.0

1. Chicago Bears (via CAR) – Caleb Williams, QB, USC
2. Washington Commanders – Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
3. New England Patriots – Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
4. Arizona Cardinals – Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
5. Los Angeles Chargers – Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
6. New York Giants – Malik Nabers, WR, LSU
7. Tennessee Titans – Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
8. Atlanta Falcons – Dallas Turner, OLB, Alabama
9. Chicago Bears – Rome Odunze, WR, Washington
10. New York Jets – Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State
11. Minnesota Vikings – Nate Wiggins, CB, Clemson
12. Denver Broncos – Laiatu Latu, OLB, UCLA
13. Las Vegas Raiders – Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
14. New Orleans Saints – Brian Thomas Jr., WR, LSU
15. Indianapolis Colts – Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
16. Seattle Seahawks – J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cooper DeJean, CB, Iowa
18. Cincinnati Bengals – JC Latham, OT, Alabama
19. Los Angeles Rams – Jared Verse, DE, Florida State

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kamari Lassiter, CB, Georgia

Sure, the Steelers hit on cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with the top pick of Round 2 a year ago, but this is a defense that saw 33-year-old corner Patrick Peterson play more than 1,000 snaps, so there’s room for an injection of youth at the position. Lassiter emerged as a lockdown corner for the Bulldogs in 2023, though he had just one career interception, which came all the way back in 2021. Still, he allowed a total of nine receptions for 91 yards as the nearest defender in coverage, and none of those passes went for scores. He could form an elite duo with Porter.


Height: 6’0″
Weight: 180
Position: Cornerback
School: Georgia
Current Year: Junior


Scouting Report

Strengths

Quick trigger in zone
Passes routes off easily in match
Protects the post as backside Cover 3 CB
Gnat-like transition and recovery ability
Good-to-great long speed
Quick downhill trigger vs. screens
Strong play through the hands when unable to get head around at catch point
Good finisher despite lean frame
Physicality at the line of scrimmage is apparent. Dictates route stems with ferocity.

Weaknesses

Can be too passive protecting downfield (opens hips early and allows out to separate)
Handsy after five-yard NFL contact window and will grab if compromised
Can get caught peaking and lose downfield double moves in zone match
Will be overwhelmed by physical runners at the next level because of his lean frame


What would you think of this if the pick came to fruition? Would you be happy if the board fell this way? Let us know in the comment section, and be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the offseason.

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