One ideal Pittsburgh Steelers draft target to address 3 biggest needs in first round

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have plenty of options afforded to them with the No. 20 overall pick.

Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon Ducks
Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon Ducks / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers are at a critical point in their competitive life cycle. Adapt or die. Given how painfully stubborn head coach Mike Tomlin can be at times, I will give him credit for admitting he is wrong for once. Whatever the Steelers were doing offensively the last few seasons wasn't working. While hiring Arthur Smith to be the team's offensive coordinator is suspect, he was good previously.

Pittsburgh is always going to finish above .500 for as long as Tomlin is coaching the team. While the Steelers' defensive identity is part of their overall ethos, they must get better offensively at other key positions besides just quarterback. Pittsburgh is not what it once was along the offensive line, nor is it really anything to write home about at the wide receiver position any more. So much has changed.

So what I'm going to do today is outline a few blue-chip prospects who could solve a major issue for the Steelers at where they are picking in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh will not be on the clock until No. 20, but they will have plenty of great options at their disposal to solve any of their major needs. Not all can be solved at once, but gradually making better picks will serve them.

Here is one ideal candidate at each major position group of need that should work well in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Steelers No. 20 option: LSU WR Brian Thomas Jr.

This tends to happen to more former LSU wide receivers than not. There are usually two of them doing great work at the same time. We saw only a few years when Joe Burrow was the quarterback. Ja'Marr Chase was otherworldly, but Justin Jefferson was still exceptional. During Jayden Daniels' Heisman run, Malik Nabers set the SEC on fire, while Brian Thomas Jr. helped LSU's offense explode.

Wide receiver is a position that not only the Steelers need to fill in the upcoming draft, but so do many other teams. While I think there is a precipitous drop-off from WR3 to WR4 this year, Thomas did show during his time at LSU that he might be something more than just a great player's running mate. Not to say he is going to be the next Justin Jefferson, but what if he is the next Jarvis Landry?

Historically, the Steelers do a remarkable job of drafting wide receivers, so I trust their judgement.

Pittsburgh Steelers No. 20 option: Clemson CB Nate Wiggins

One of the other options the Steelers could go a with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft would be cornerback. They seem to have struck gold in last year's second-round selection of Joey Porter Jr. out of Penn State. While the Steelers legacy was more than fine as a rookie, Pittsburgh needs a running mate opposite of him at the second cornerback position. What about Nate Wiggins?

The former Clemson standout should be coming off the board in the late teens to mid-20s this spring. He is in a group of a few defensive backs, including former Alabama star Kool-Aid McKinstry and Iowa's Mr. Everything Cooper DeJean. I don't think Pittsburgh can go wrong with any of those selections, so no, it wouldn't shock me if they want with any of them as their first-round pick in 2024.

I would go with Wiggins over DeJean and McKinstry because he might be the steadiest of the three.

Pittsburgh Steelers No. 20 option: Oregon C Jackson Powers-Johnson

Although a center should never come off the board any earlier than in the 20s, the Steelers could make former Oregon star Jackson Powers-Johnson their first-round pick this year. He could be the fulcrum for the offensive line they have surely been missing. While I would attest that they need more than just a center to fix some of their offensive line issues, Powers-Johnson is a plug-and-play guy.

This is about getting an interior offensive linemen who can best position the Steelers for a brighter future offensively. It all starts with being able to dictate terms in the trenches, allowing for the running game to be an area of strength to better open up the pass. Pittsburgh could go with another Georgia offensive tackle in Amarius Mims with this selection, but Powers-Johnson feels like the better pick.

Pittsburgh can come out of round one well by drafting either Thomas, Wiggins or Powers-Johnson.

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