Top targets for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is nearly two weeks away. As we approach closer to the event, we won’t officially know the Pittsburgh Steelers’ plans until they happen. However, it becomes clearer as to what players and positions they’re likely to target when you see the players they’ve hosted as part of their top 30 visits permitted as part of the process.

Here are a few of those names who have had one-on-one meetings with the Steelers as part of the top 30 visits schedule and how they factor into the Steelers’ plans with the 20th overall pick (first round) or perhaps the 51st pick (second round).

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Michael Penix Jr.

The runner-up in the 2023 Heisman trophy race, Washington’s quarterback is the only QB that Pittsburgh has had a top 30 visit with.

He is listed here as a potential, but unlikely target: the Steelers have other needs, but also have a quarterback room that is full of uncertainty. Russell Wilson and Justin Fields are both looking to rebound their careers. If they do so, Pittsburgh will need to extend them beyond the one year left on each of their contracts.

Enter Penix, who has 40 collegiate appearances under his belt including one in the most recent National Championship game. A six-year college athlete, Penix threw for over 13,000 yards between his stints at Indiana and Washington, adding 96 touchdowns to 34 interceptions on his resume.

His last two seasons, both spent with the Huskies, saw Penix throw for 4,641 and 4,903 yards respectively, with 31 to 8 and 36 to 11 touchdown-to-interception ratios.

With only three passers on their current depth chart, could Penix slide down and become Pittsburgh’s choice at pick 20? If he does, he could be the fourth, fifth, or even sixth quarterback selected behind the top tier of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, then the next set of prospects, J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix.

If he slides further, Penix could be an intriguing target for the Steelers in the second round.

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Xavier Legette, Adonai Mitchell, Ricky Pearsall

Much like the expectations at the quarterback position, the wide receiver draft class also has top names who should all be selected by teams within the top ten picks, such as Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze.

While some mock drafts are linking the Steelers with Nabers’ LSU teammate Brian Thomas Jr. or Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, the Steelers haven’t officially met with those players for top 30 visits.

The highest-rated receiver they’ve had visit is Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, a 6′ 4″  190 lbs. prospect who burst onto the scene with the Longhorns in 2023 after transferring from Georgia. Mitchell caught 55 passes for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns and favorably compares to current Steelers wide receiver George Pickens. He could land anywhere within the top 50 picks between the first and second rounds.

Florida’s Ricky Pearsall stands 6′ 1″ and weighs an even 200 lbs., but is a more seasoned player having five collegiate seasons under his belt. He caught 65 passes for 965 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2023. He projects to be taken outside of the first round but is still among the top ten receiver prospects.

South Carolina’s Xavier Legette also had a big 2023 season. The 6′ 3″ 227 lbs. pass catcher hauled in 71 balls for 1,255 yards and 7 touchdowns, making him a a big play target the Steelers could covet.

Regardless of which player is the top pick, it’s clear the Steelers have a need at the receiver position after trading away Diontae Johnson and releasing Allen Robinson, leaving Pickens and Calvin Austin as the only returning players from 2023. GM Omar Khan will target someone in this draft, with these three names being the leading candidates thus far.

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Troy Fautanu, Taliese Fuaga, Amarius Mims

A group of huge offensive tackles have visited the Steelers in recent weeks and these men appear to be their main target, if available, with their first round selection.

Fuaga (6’6″ 334 lbs.) and Mims (6’7″ 340 lbs.) fit Mike Tomlin’s theme of targeting larger than life men for his offensive line, much in the same way he did with Alejandro Villanueva and Zach Banner in prior seasons. Both Fuaga and Mims played right tackle in college, but could be position flexible in the pros: though this isn’t highly necessary, as the team moved up to pick Broderick Jones in last year’s draft. Jones is a natural left tackle, but was called into action to play on the right side in 2023.

Drafting a dedicated right tackle would allow Jones to shift back to the left side of the line. However, Tomlin has always been keen on selecting players who are position flexible.

Fautanu (6’4″ 317 lbs.) has played primarily left tackle with the Washington Huskies and might force the team to leave Jones on the right side.

This, of course, all depends on who is available when the Steelers are on the clock and if they feel another position of need is of a higher priority as all three players listed here are believed to be first round picks and probably won’t last until when the team picks again at 51.

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Zach Frazier

Not listed among the official draft visits but rumored to have been a “local visit” is West Virginia center Zach Frazier. The 6’3″ 310 lbs. prospect is at a major position of need for Pittsburgh, who lacks a true center on the roster after parting with last year’s starter Mason Cole.

Among the offensive linemen to have visited with the team, none are specialists at this position, at least thus far. Some mock drafts are linking Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson to the Steelers, but he has yet to have any of the formal contact we’ve come to expect from the team when using a first round choice on an incoming rookie.

Update: The Powers-Johnson has officially met with the Steelers as of this article’s original post date per Dale Lolley of

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Final Thoughts

That said, are the Steelers targeting an offensive tackle or wide receiver over prioritizing the center position earlier in the draft? Or could they be looking towards adding help for defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on defense?

The team has met with top DL prospect Braden Fiske from Florida State and Clemson CB Nate Wiggins. Each is believed to be “green room” invitees who could hold a jersey and cap on live TV during the first night of the draft.

Most of Pittsburgh’s other defensive line visits appear to be picks for later in the draft. However, the cornerback position still has higher ranked players who have officially visited with the team, such as Rutgers’ Max Melton and Kentucky’s Andru Phillips. Both players, if they last, could be potential third round targets: where the Steelers have two selections this year. (Picks 84 and 98.)

Oddly, the Steelers have had little contact with linebackers during the draft process which should come as no surprise after signing Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts last offseason, and making a big splash to acquire Patrick Queen in free agency this year. They’re also off the map when it comes to any day one or two running backs and tight ends, leaving the top priorities believed to be offensive tackle, wide receiver, cornerback, and hopefully, center.

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