Home Steelers DraftDraft Analysis Best Day 2 Prospects for the Steelers in the 2022 NFL Draft

Best Day 2 Prospects for the Steelers in the 2022 NFL Draft

by Ian

The Steelers selected Kenny Pickett with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Moving into the second night, where the Steelers hold the 52nd and 84th overall picks, here are the best remaining prospects for the Steelers.

Nakobe Dean (LB – Georgia)

This is a situation where all you need to do is watch the tape. Georgia’s defense was filled with absolute athletic studs, and Dean stood out as consistently the fastest guy on the field. Dean may be slightly undersized, but he can fly to the ball and can get to the quarterback on inside blitzes. Dean is our favorite linebacker in the class and it would be an absolutely dream scenario to plug him into the middle of the Steelers defense. The Steelers will have to make a decision on Devin Bush’s 5th year option after the draft, and having a guy like Dean on the roster would make it easier to move on from Bush.

Andrew Booth (CB – Clemson)

Andrew Booth is a very good scheme fit for the Steelers.  Booth plays physical on the outside and is better suited in a man coverage scheme. Booth stepped into the starting role halfway through 2020 and recorded 14 passes defended and 5 INTs over the last two seasons. He also showed physicality and willingness to crash the corner against the run with 5.5 tackles for loss. Booth isn’t afraid of contact, a trait the Steelers like to see in their corners. The concern with Booth (and likely why he slid to the second round) is his injury history. He has battled knee tendonitis since high school, had surgery to repair his patella tendon after his freshman year, and had a quad strain and double hernia last season.

Skyy Moore (WR – Western Michigan)

Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore is our top remaining receiver available. He has WPIAL ties – playing at Shady Side Academy with Mike Tomlin’s sons. Moore was the only player in WPIAL history to record TWO seasons with 1000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards. At Western Michigan, he moved to wide receiver and has been a sharp route-runner with good hands who is explosive after the catch. The Steelers need a slot receiver and Moore would be an ideal fit.

DeMarvin Leal (DT – Texas A&M)

With Stephon Tuitt’s future somewhat uncertain and Tyson Alualu’s recent run of injuries, the Steelers need to add depth on the defensive line. Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar attended just one Pro Day this year – at Texas A&M. Leal has the versatility to play inside or outside in a defensive front and would be very well-suited for the 3-4 DE role and has the quickness to rush the passer out of nickel sets. Leal recorded 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss this past season.

David Ojabo (EDGE – Michigan)

Ojabo is just a redshirt sophomore and is a raw but intriguing prospect. He was born in Nigeria and grew up in Scotland before moving to the United States in high school, where he started playing football as a junior. Despite his late introduction to the game, Ojabo cracked Michigan’s starting lineup in 2021 and posted 12 TFLs and 11 sacks playing opposite Aidan Hutchinson. Unfortunately, he suffered an Achilles injury at his Pro Day which will cause him to miss part of the 2022 season. Ojabo has the upside and raw athleticism to be an impactful NFL linebacker as he continues to learn the game and grow into his frame.

Jaquan Brisker (S – Penn State)

The Steelers sent both new defensive assistant Brian Flores and defensive backs coach Grady Brown to Penn State’s Pro Day. Brisker is a big-time playmaker with the speed to cover the field and the size to match up. He would make for a very good strong safety next to Minkah and his toughness against the run would make him an impact player. He had 7 passes defended and 2 interceptions this past year, to go along with 6 tackles for loss and was a team captain.

Arnold Ebiketie (EDGE – Penn State)

Ebiketie checked all of the boxes for an early-impact pass rusher except for height where he measured in at 6’2 3/8, about 3/8 of an inch shy of the threshold. He came to Penn State as a transfer from Temple and exploded this past season with 17 TFLs and 9.5 sacks. Even though he is slightly undersized, Ebiketie has great athleticism and short area quickness, as evidenced by a sub-7 second 3-cone drill. He is a bit raw in his pass rushing repertoire but has the athletic tools to be impactful at the next level.

George Pickens (WR – Georgia)

The Steelers scouted Pickens heavily in the pre-draft process. Wide Receivers coach Frisman Jackson even put Pickens through a workout at his Pro Day. At 6’3″ 195 he is slender and long but has good speed and the athleticism to win jump balls down the field. He is coming off a torn ACL. From a pure talent standpoint, he is one of the best receivers in the draft class but reports are that he has had some off-field issues and his attitude could present a problem.

Bernhard Raimann (OT – Central Michigan)

Raimann grew up in Austria and didn’t start playing football until high school. He came to Central Michigan as a tight end and switched to left tackle in the spring of 2020. He started all 6 games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and all 12 in 2021 when he was first-team All-MAC. Raimann is still very raw in his technique and is developing as an offensive tackle. He tested very well athletically and should have the ability to contribute as either a swing tackle or potentially slide inside to guard as he continues to develop. Raimann is a fringe first round prospect, depending on how much teams are willing to gamble on his athletic potential vs his lack of overall experience.

Daniel Faalele (OT – Minnesota)

Faalele is an absolute mountain of a human being at 6’8″ 384 pounds. Unsurprisingly, he did not test very well athletically with that kind of size. Faalele was born in Australia to a Tongan mother and Samoan father. He grew up playing rugby and was recruited to IMG Academy in Florida for football. He came to America in his junior year of high school and did not play until his senior year. Faalele was a 3-year starter at Minnesota, opting out of 2020 but returning last year to be a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Given his late introduction to the game, Faalele still has some learning and developing to do, but his rugby background provided him with good footwork and his overall size and strength make him suited for a right tackle position in the pros.

The Next Best

Running Back

The Steelers don’t have a need for a starting running back after drafting Najee Harris last year. That said, adding a depth running back who can be a quality backup (and spot starter if Najee gets hurt) would be a solid addition to the offense. Iowa State’s Breece Hall and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker are the best backs in this class. Guys we like in the later rounds include Georgia’s James Cook, Notre Dame’s Kyren Williams, South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong, and Ole Miss’ Snoop Conner.

Wide Receiver

There was a big shakeup among wide receivers in both the pre-draft process and on the first night. Receivers demanding contracts in the range of $25 million per year caused some teams to trade them away and use those draft picks on younger and less expensive options. Heading into the later rounds of the draft, Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce, North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, and Clemson’s Justyn Ross are quality options for outside field-stretching receivers. The choices for potential slot receivers are much greater. Steelers WR coach Frisman Jackson put SMU’s Danny Gray through a workout at his Pro Day. Other guys we like include Alabama’s John Metchie, Kentucky’s Wan’Dale Robinson, Boise State’s Khalil Shakir, and Tennessee’s Velus Jones.

Offensive Line

If the Steelers choose to address the tackle position later in the draft, two players from right in their backyard could be considered. Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere was a two-year starter and played multiple positions for the Buckeyes. He has good footwork but needs some refinement in his technique and to add strength. Penn State’s Rasheed Walker was a three-year starter and team captain. He has good power and short-area quickness but can get caught leaning and reaching. Both are NFL-capable starters if they get into the right situation with a good line coach and can develop. There are slim pickings at tackle on Day 3, but some names to keep an eye on include UTSA’s Spencer Burford, Louisiana’s Max Mitchell, and Arizona State’s Kellen Diesch who is one of the top athletes in the draft. On the inside, while two guards and a two centers went in the first round of the draft, Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard and Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer are probably the best guards left.

Defensive Line

The Steelers had the worst run defense in the league last season and at some point in the draft should do something to add depth to the defensive line. Stephon Tuitt’s situation is still unknown and Tyson Alualu, though effective when healthy, has been injury-plagued the last few years. UConn’s Travis Jones and Stanford’s Thomas Booker tested very well athletically. Houston’s Logan Hall, Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey and Alabama’s Phildarian Mathis are three names to watch. In the later rounds, Arkansas’ John Ridgeway, Tennessee’s Matthew Butler

Edge Rusher

The Steelers have starters at both EDGE rusher positions in TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith. They signed a backup in Genard Avery. The position could use some additional depth via the draft. With Edge Rushers, it is always better to gamble on guys with high athleticism and less collegiate production rather than guys with more production that are not as athletic. Minnesota’s Boye Mafe whose Pro Day agility drills were a little on the slower side and despite his age still has some refinement to gain in his technique. Where Mafe wins is with his lower-body explosiveness where he bursts out of his stance to get the edge. USC’s Drake Jackson and Cincinnati’s Myjai Sanders both played a little undersized in college but have added weight in the pre-draft process. Syracuse’ Jonathan Kingsley and San Diego State’s Cameron Thomas had two of the best 3-cone drill times of the edge rusher class. Players with across-the-board athleticism that are worth a later round gamble are Miami (Ohio)’s Dominique Robinson and Coastal Carolina’s Jeffrey Gunter. Those were the only two players in this draft class to hit all 8 thresholds for “Early Impact Pass Rushers.” Other players that checked 7 of the 8 boxes were  Western Kentucky’s DeAngelo Malone (who weighed in at 243, under the 250 threshold), Ole Miss’ Sam Williams (who was an inch short on the vertical jump), Wake Forest’s Luiji Vilain (who was 0.02 slow on the 40), and Oklahoma’s Nick Bonitto (who was under the weight line by 2 pounds).

Inside Linebacker

There are a number of quality inside linebackers that will likely be drafted here on the second day. In addition to Nakobe Dean (mentioned above), a number of players in this class tested through the roof athletically. Dean’s Georgia teammate Channing Tindall is widely considered one of the sleepers of the class. Steelers defensive coaches went to Pro Days at Georgia, Clemson, and Penn State where linebacker Brandon Smith tested very well. Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal is a guy we are very high on, along with Alabama’s Christian Harris. If the Steelers go the smaller school route, Montana State’s Troy Andersen and Wyoming’s Chad Muma could be candidates. Don’t sleep on Cincinnati’s Darrian Beavers who was a playmaker in the middle of the Bearcats defense that went to the College Football Playoff.


Four cornerbacks were taken in the first round of the draft, two of them in the top five picks. Defensive backs coach Grady Brown attended Pro Days at Penn State, Alabama, and LSU. Brian Flores went to Georgia and Clemson. Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin went to Pitt’s Pro Day. While Washington’s Kyler Gordon, Auburn’s Roger McCreary, and Nebraska’s Cam Taylor-Britt are generally ranked as the next best prospects on the board, the Steelers did not invest much time in them other than seeing the later two at the Senior Bowl. More likely candidates for the Steelers the rest of the draft include Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant, Pitt’s Damarri Mathis, Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields, and Alabama’s Josh Jobe.

Kyler Gordon (Washington), Roger McCreary (Auburn), Cam Taylor-Britt (Nebraska), Coby Bryant (Cincinnati), Damarri Mathis (Pitt)


Three safeties went off the board in the first round, leaving the pickings a little slimmer in the second. Other than Jaquan Brisker (mentioned above), the Steelers could look at guys like Cincinnati’s Bryan Cook, Maryland’s Nick Cross or Baylor’s Jalen Pitre on Day 2. There are some Day 3 safety prospects with black and gold ties including UCLA’s Quentin Lake (son of Carnell Lake) and USC’s Isaiah Pola-Mao (nephew of Troy Polamalu). Baylor’s JT Woods is an intriguing mid-round option after he ran a sub-4.4 40.

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