NFL Draft News & Analysis

Pittsburgh Steelers 7-round mock draft: Two WRs head to Pittsburgh

2T90PXF USC Trojans wide receiver Brenden Rice (2) runs a route during an NCAA football game against UCLA, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 in Los Angeles. (Ric Tapia via AP)

• Ricky Pearsall, Brenden Rice join the Steelers: Pearsall is a projected slot receiver, and Rice is a smooth runner who can gain separation at all three levels of the field.

• CB Nate Wiggins is Pittsburgh's pick in Round 1: Wiggins' 6-foot-2 frame and length allow him to disrupt receivers in the contact window and at the catch point. He also has above-average athleticism for the position.

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As the 2024 NFL Draft nears, our seven-round team mock draft series continues with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Round 1, Pick 20: CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson

Wiggins' 6-foot-2 frame and length allow him to disrupt receivers in the contact window and at the catch point. He also has above-average athleticism for the position. His footwork is quick and controlled, his hips flip fluidly and fast and he has impressive recovery speed. Although Wiggins didn’t have many interceptions, his forced incompletion percentage and awareness prove that he is impactful. The best part about him is he remains confident in both man and zone responsibilities. He has a slender build, and that shows up when tasked with tackling, getting off blocks and handling stronger receivers in their routes.

Round 2, Pick 51: WR Ricky Pearsall, Florida

Pearsall, a three-star recruit, also played safety in high school. He started his career at Arizona State before transferring to Florida in 2022. He is a projected slot receiver, and his slot skill set is about as good as one could hope. He is savvy and nuanced in his route running, winning in so many ways with a diverse route tree. His feet are quick and elusive, which allows him to be more of a vertical threat than his straight-line speed alone could create. He is also a very reliable hands catcher. He doesn't have rare flexibility for change of direction, but he makes up for it with how he sets up defenders.

Round 3, Pick 84: G Cooper Beebe, Kansas State

Beebe brings experience and versatility from his Kansas State career, with 48 starts combined at left guard, left tackle and right tackle. He is built well for the interior, with a thick lower body, upper body and midsection. His trump card is his football IQ. He has an impressive understanding of why the fundamentals win at the position — leverage, hand placement, angles, timing, etc. Beebe leaves much to be desired as an athlete. He does not get off the ball with explosiveness and thus does not convert speed to power at the punch often. His feet are heavy, and he struggles to recover against twitchier pass rushers.

Round 3, Pick 98: S Kamren Kinchens, Miami (FL)

As a true freshman, Kinchens played in all 12 games, starting the final five. He then became a full-time starter in 2022 and 2023. Kinchens is a good all-around athlete who has made plays in both the run and pass games. Most of his experience and production is from a free safety spot, including 12 interceptions. His range from a single-high role is good, but a big boon to that is his anticipation rather than rare athletic ability. In the run game, he is willing and in control, but his lower weight shows up in the form of missed tackles. He just doesn't pack a big punch at contact.

Round 4, Pick 119: WR Brenden Rice, USC

As the son of the most accomplished receiver in NFL history, Rice has a level of football intelligence that sets him apart from most of his peers. There is so much nuance to how he plays the position — much more than you'd expect, even for the more polished receiver prospects. He has a vast understanding of releases, route running and hand techniques. He is a smooth runner who can gain separation at all three levels of the field. Rice also brings special teams experience as a returner.

Round 6, Pick 178: LB JD Bertrand, Notre Dame

Bertrand is a tough, smart and competitive prospect, albeit undersized, who projects as a rotational/backup inside linebacker for 4-3 or 3-4 schemes.

Round 6, Pick 195: S Josh Proctor, Ohio State

Proctor has lined up in the slot, in the box and as a deep safety. He's a better run defender than he is in coverage, but at a minimum, he is capable of sticking around on special teams in the NFL.

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