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Steelers 2023 NFL Draft Spotlight: Prospects to watch in Week 1

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The 2023 NFL Draft is still months away, but with college football having arrived, the beginning stages of the 2023 draft process have begun. With that in mind, it is time to dive into this week’s biggest games in the college football world, taking a look at potential Steelers draft targets to pay attention to during their respective games.

Offensive line is definitely an area the Steelers need to address, and the most likely resource for the solution is indeed the draft. Concerns at cornerback and linebacker also loom large over Pittsburgh’s head. Although we will certainly break down prospects at other positions this season as well, these will be the primary positions of emphasis, especially early in the season.

Nearly every week during the season, there are several highlight games that steal the headlines, but even when these games overshadow the rest of the college football landscape, we will not be negligent of the other games and prospects in action. Every week during the season, we will recap the previous week’s action and determine whose stock rose the most as it pertains to the NFL Draft.

As always, be sure to share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, but without further adieu, here are the top prospects and games to keep an eye on this Saturday.

Oregon vs. Georgia — 3:30 ET on ABC

Georgia Spotlight: Kelee Ringo — CB, Broderick Jones — OT
Oregon Spotlight: Noah Sewell — ILB, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu — OT

Oregon has a nice group of young receivers, but this is a great opportunity for Kelee Ringo to prove that he is one of the best corners in the nation. At 6’2″, 205 pounds, Ringo has every trait NFL teams look for in a modern-day cornerback. A former high-school track star, the Georgia standout certainly has the speed and athleticism to match just about any receiver in the country. He uses his length well, and he displays great awareness when the ball is in the air.

Georgia’s running game seems to be perennially strong, and if Oregon wants to have a chance in this game, they will need a strong performance from linebacker Noah Sewell, who is coming into the season with the expectation of becoming a top-50 draft pick in April. Sewell is a physical linebacker who displays great burst as well as the ability to rush the passer, but his consistency as a tackler needs to improve if he wants to receive first-round consideration. Saturday’s game will be a good test for him.

Cincinnati vs. Arkansas — 3:30 ET on ESPN

Cincinnati Spotlight: Ivan Pace, Jr. — ILB, Ja’Von Hicks — S
Arkansas Spotlight: Bumper Pool — ILB, Jalen Catalon — S

Cincinnati lost loads of talent to the NFL, but their defense should be good enough to carry them in 2022. The Bearcats boast two of the top linebackers in the AAC, and they are both brothers. Ivan Pace, Jr. is a little more polished and filled out than his counterpart, but both are incredibly talented players. Ivan displays great quickness coming downhill, and he held up surprisingly well in coverage in 2021.

For Arkansas, my eyes are most focused on one of the best names in the draft: Bumper Pool. Bumper is not the most physically gifted linebacker, but his instincts and play recognition are top-notch. Arkansas will be a tough team to run against if their defensive line can keep him clean.

Notre Dame Spotlight: Cam Hart — CB, Isaiah Foskey — EDGE
Ohio State Spotlight: Parris Johnson — OT, Matthew Jones — G

Cam Hart is not at the top of most draft boards, but he is a long, athletic corner worth keeping an eye on. His footwork needs a bit of maintenance, but his long arms and long strides allow him to make up ground if he gets beat at the line. If he becomes more consistent in the tackling department, he could quickly rise on draft boards.

For the Buckeyes, every Steelers fan should have their eyes on Parris Johnson. It is no secret that the Steelers need to invest more in the offensive line, and Johnson has a chance to become the best tackle in this class. He has great quickness out of his stance, plays with a nice pad level, and flashes impressive power. Notre Dame’s strong pass rush will be a great test for this Buckeyes offensive line.

For more info on this week’s games, check out Pittsblits56’s weekly College Game Day Thread this Saturday.

Which games and prospects do you have your eyes on this weekend? Be sure to share your thoughts on this topic and all things NFL Draft in the comment section below!