As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for the NFL Draft (April 25-27), we are doing the same here at Breakfast With Benz. That means it’s time for our annual draft preview series with pro and college scout Matt Williamson. I’ve worked with Williamson for many years on Fox Sports Radio 970 AM and the WDVE Steelers pregame show. He is also on Steelers Nation Radio.

Each day we post at Breakfast With Benz before Round 1, we will drop a podcast looking at a position group of draft-eligible players.

We begin our series Thursday by looking at the defensive backs.

When it comes to evaluating this year’s NFL Draft pool and how the Steelers should attack it, Williamson sees a lot of value in the offensive line.

That’s specifically true in some areas of need for the Steelers.

“This is a rare offensive tackle draft. I think it’s an exceptional center draft,” Williamson said in Thursday’s Breakfast With Benz podcast. “As usual, but more so, it’s a great, deep, wide receiver draft. And the more defensive tackle work I did, the more I liked it.”

But the Steelers definitely have needs at defensive back as well. Granted, the team traded for ex-Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson and signed former Ravens, Lions and Dolphins safety DeShon Elliott. If healthy, Cory Trice and Darius Rush could be involved in 2024 as well.


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That said, the franchise has let Levi Wallace, Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Keanu Neal, Elijah Riley and Eric Rowe test free agency. James Pierre has already signed with the Washington Commanders.

So numbers are needed in the Steelers secondary, even if some of those players are eventually re-signed.

“At corner it’s good,” Williamson said of the draft class. “It’s deep. There’s slot corners, which is the biggest need right now at the corner position for the Steelers. … There aren’t any superstars — Jalen Ramseys, Sauce Gardeners — that are guaranteed, early picks. But, as usual, there will be five corners or so in the first round. I like that group, and the Steelers could be fishing in those waters.”

I asked Williamson if there were any corners that would sway his opinion about leaning toward taking one of the many good tackles at pick No. 20. He pointed to four possibilities: Terrion Arnold (Alabama), Quinyon Mitchell (Toledo), Nate Wiggins (Clemson) and Cooper DeJean (Iowa).

“Arnold, Mitchell, Wiggins and DeJean would definitely be in my top 20 players. So, if things don’t go great, I would say they’re worth the 20th pick. That adds up,” Williamson said. “Wiggins is leaner, super fast, but he’s only an outside guy. Mitchell is almost exclusively an outside guy, but he might be the best of the bunch and just too good to pass up. Arnold and DeJean, though, would fit more in terms of (being) a slot now, and may be better than Jackson before you know it as an outside guy in two corner sets.”

Of that group, Williamson says that DeJean might be the most intriguing prospect for the Steelers based on their specific needs — namely, a big hole at slot corner.

“He is a little straight-line-ish. Many think he’s a safety. I think he’s a slot — a ‘star back,’ which is kind of an in-the-box type of guy. Highly capable of being an outside corner and might be a superstar safety,” Williamson said. “I think if you would get DeJean in the first round, you might just be done with your defensive backfield. And that’s a nice little approach. One pick could fill in all those gaps. I think that’s really attractive.”

If the Steelers don’t go with a first-round corner, Williamson offered up a few names that may be of interest on Day 2 or Day 3 at the position. They include Cam Hart of Notre Dame and Max Melton of Rutgers.

“He’s 5-foot-11, almost 190 pounds. Maybe the best athlete of all these corners,” Williamson said of Melton. “Slot, outside, if you’re talking about Round 2, Melton would be my target.”

Also, in the podcast, Williamson talks about why he is unimpressed by this safety class, why he is a little dubious of the trade for Jackson, and where a host of Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia corners may find themselves picked.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at or via X. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.