The Pittsburgh Steelers have several options for where to go with their pick when they are on the clock in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
The company might adopt a center. For the second year in a row, they might select an offensive tackle in the draft. At cornerback, they may use the same tactic.
The right man falling to pick 20 might even put the defensive line in play.
The most common prediction thus far for the Steelers has been a corner, however there isn’t an agreement on which corner they should choose.
The Steelers have now been given a corner by two additional mock drafts. In both spoofs, Kool-Aid McKinstry of Alabama served as the corner.
First, in his mock draft of January 19, SI’s Patrick Chiotti predicted that the Steelers will choose McKinstry.
Parker Abate of Steelers Nation disclosed two days later that he anticipated the same pick in his mock draft for the Steelers alone.
McKinstry, who excelled for Alabama, is anticipated to become the latest in a long line of Crimson Tide defensive backs to enter the NFL.
Another Star Defensive Back for Alabama
Prominent defensive backs are nothing new for the Crimson Tide of Alabama.
Over the past ten NFL Drafts, they have taken nine defensive backs in the first two rounds.
Among them is Minkah Fitzpatrick, who just represented the Steelers in his fourth Pro Bowl.
They actually have two corners that will probably be added to that list going into the 2024 draft.
Terrion Arnold and McKinstry are predicted to go undrafted in the first 25 choices.
Arnold has the more spectacular stats of the two, but McKinstry would be a great fit to play cornerback alongside Joey Porter Jr. for the Steelers defense.
Throughout his three years, McKinstry only had two interceptions, but he excelled at covering.
In 14 games in 2023, McKinstry gave up only 19 catches for 205 yards on 39 targets against a formidable SEC schedule.
When he enters the NFL, his excellent size and speed combination should help him to remain a problem to opposing receivers.
Even if he didn’t record any interceptions, he might still be a highly useful player in Pittsburgh even without them.
By making it tough for opposition receivers to find gaps, he and Porter Jr. would buy the team’s skilled pass rush more time to get to the quarterback.
Many defensive backs from Alabama and the SEC as a whole had successful careers in the NFL after being sent there.
McKinstry might come next.
A Steelers Secondary That Still Needs Help
With the selection of Porter Jr. with the first pick in the second round in the 2023 offseason, the Steelers began to address their cornerback problems.
In order to fill the other corner position, they also signed Patrick Peterson, but it appears that he may play safety or nickel corner for the remainder of his career and not with the Steelers.
This previous season, the team’s pass defense was still lacking, despite the addition of Peterson to the squad and the impressive rookie play of Porter Jr.
They had seven quarterbacks on their schedule who weren’t the starting starters for their team in Week 1, yet they still gave up the 10th-highest yards per attempt on pass attempts in the league in 2023.
As a result, the team is currently associated with several corners, including McKinstry, Penn State’s Kalen King, Iowa’s Cooper De Jean, and Clemson’s Nate Wiggins.
The Steelers need an upgrade in the secondary to complement Porter Jr., whichever they choose to start with.
John Vaccaro is an NFL reporter for Heavy.com, where he primarily covers the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. He has worked as an editor and writer for BroBible and FanSided, covering the NFL, NBA, MMA, and college sports in the past.A bit more about John Vaccaro