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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Curt Popejoy

Steelers land rare defensive talent in new mock draft

Sometimes when you watch an NFL draft prospect, there is just something that stands out you can’t quite put your finger on but you know they are a special player. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons was the last one we saw like that in the draft who we lobbied for the Pittsburgh Steelers to draft. But having missed on Parsons, the Steelers could fix that this year.

In the new one-round mock draft by Touchdown Wire, they have the Steelers selecting Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson. When I watch Simpson play, he gives off strong Micah Parsons’ vibes. An explosive athlete who can line up inside or outside and plays every play like he’s shot out of a cannon.

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Here is what the guys at TD Wire said about Simpson as the pick for the Steelers.

The Steelers have been trying to find their next franchise linebacker since Ryan Shazier’s unfortunate spinal contusion in 2017. Devin Bush has not been that guy. Robert Spillane, Myles Jack, Tae Crowder… the list of names has not been exceptional. Perhaps it’s time for Mike Tomlin to take a different tack in this regard — instead of trying to find the next great traditional off-ball ‘backer, maybe look for one of the new iterations of positionless linebackers who can do multiple things in multiple ways.

Simpson, who looked great in 2022 for the Tigers in every aspect from tackling off-ball to edge pressure to coverage, would be a fascinating addition to a defense that has been looking for a star in the middle for far too long.

I have a feeling by the time the draft gets here, Simpson is going to find himself being selected in the top half of the first round. He’s just too dynamic and too versatile to pass up. He’s the prototype for an NFL linebacker and was highly productive in college. But should he make it to pick No. 17 it would be hard to watch the Steelers pass him by for another player.

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