Perfect Picks 2024: Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Tomlin has been the model of consistency as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, simply ending the year with a winning record is wearing thin with the fanbase. There have been rumblings that perhaps a fresh perspective is needed. For now, both Tomlin and the fans are itching to get back into the Championship hunt.

The biggest question for everyone involved in the organisation is, are they willing to hitch their wagon once more to Kenny Pickett. Other than an impressive preseason, Pickett has underwhelmed at QB for the Steelers. His role and this offseason could define this chapter of Tomlin’s reign.

Round 1 - Ennis Rakestraw Jr, CB, Missouri

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The Steelers first-round pick is not optimally positioned to take a swing at quarterback. It should be well stocked though for two other areas of need, offensive tackle and cornerback. I nearly leaned towards going back-to-back years with a Georgia tackle, but Amarius Mims’ inexperience meant I looked to find Joey Porter a partner in the secondary.

While Ennis Rakestraw Jr didn’t time quickly in the 40 during the combine he is sticky in coverage on tape. Not only that but he always gets his head around to locate the ball, allowing him to make splash plays at big moments. Add to that an aggressive nature and love of tackling, he fits the Steeler mould perfectly. He and Porter would likely make life hard for AFC North receivers.

Round 2 - Christian Haynes, iOL, UConn

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It’s not only the tackle spots that need help for the Steelers, they could use more depth on the interior of the offensive line. James Daniels is a projected starter but is heading into the last year of his deal. At this point, the top tackles were off the board but there were still quality options inside. One of those being UConn’s Christian Haynes.

Haynes was a four-year starter for the Huskies and his athletic ability jumps off the tape. He is comfortable moving in space and light on his feet. That allows him to make it to the second level with ease. The biggest downside is a lack of balance in the passing game but his ability as a people mover in the run game more than makes up for it.

Mid Round Gem - Christian Jones, OT, Texas

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We finally manage to add a tackle for the Steelers. At this point in the draft getting a day-one starter is a stretch but Texas’ Christian Jones fits the bill from a physical perspective. At 6’6, 321lbs Jones’ length and bulk are eye-catching. Once locked onto a target, he’s difficult to shake off. Not only that but he is a punishing finisher, you can expect to be driven into the dirt!

As expected there are negatives to his game, he can get on his heels and driven back into his quarterback. It showed up multiple times on tape against Alabama’s Dallas Turner, as he struggled with the edge rusher’s speed-to-power conversion. Jones played right tackle for the Longhorns the last two seasons, switching from the left side. It improved his game and at a pinch, he could start in that role at the next level.

Late Round Sleeper - Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland

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While I’m not convinced that Kenny Pickett is the answer in Pittsburgh, I also don’t think the Steelers make a big move this offseason to replace their current starter. Picking so late on Day 1 precludes them from getting a QB early in the draft and it would be a surprise to see them go down the route of paying an expensive veteran. That said, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph are set to leave so depth is also a question.

Tua Tagovailoa’s little brother Taulia was set to follow in his brother’s footsteps at Alabama but it took a transfer to Maryland to kick start his college career. He sought an exemption to be able to continue playing college football, but having been denied, he will head to the draft. He is undersized but has flashed potential for the Terps and should catch on somewhere in the NFL.

Draft in full

Round 1 – Ennis Rakestraw Jr, CB, Missouri

Round 2 – Christian Haynes, iOL, UConn

Round 3 – Malachi Corley, WR, Western Kentucky

Round 4 – Christian Jones, OT, Texas

Round 4 – Jaylan Ford, LB, Texas

Round 6 – Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland

Round 7 – Kitan Oladapo, S, Oregon State 

Mock Draft

Rory-Joe Daniels

Cfb contributor

formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at