When it comes reviewing the NFL Draft class, Omar Khan is a bit more tight-lipped than his predecessor Kevin Colbert. In past years, Colbert would give a general but still important rundown of each position group in that year’s draft. Which was the strongest, which were the weakest, and that helped provide a roadmap to what Pittsburgh might do.
Speaking to the media Tuesday with our Joe Clark in attendance, Khan was far more vague about the draft, saying it had good players throughout. But he did touch on one name. It was a prompted question about WR Jordan Addison but Khan offered a little something about him.
“Jordan Addison is a really good football player,” Khan said.
Addison is considered one of the top receivers in a class that lacks true top-end talent. But Addison is at the Combine this weekend competing to be the first at his position off the board, battling the likes of TCU’s Quentin Johnston and Boston College’s Zay Flowers for that pole position.
Of course, Addison has been a popular name in Steelers’ draft circles for his connection to QB Kenny Pickett. For years, they were teammates at Pitt and both broke out in 2021, Pickett throwing 42 touchdowns while Addison registered nearly 1600 yards and found the end zone 17 times. Addison transferred to USC for the 2022 season and while his numbers were down, he still averaged nearly 15 yards per catch and eight touchdowns.
Pickett has done his best to lobby for a NFL reunion and bring Addison to Pittsburgh. It’d be a similar approach to what the Cincinnati Bengals did with QB Joe Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase, now one of the best quarterback/wide receiver tandems in the league. And Pittsburgh does have a hole in the slot Addison could fill.
While Khan said unfamiliar players can quickly build NFL chemistry, he admitted those types of connections are things “you always look at.” Few teams have valued familiarity like the Steelers, citing their proximity to Pickett as a key reason why they chose him above all the other quarterbacks in last year’s class.
Of course, the Steelers have plenty of needs elsewhere and have spent the last couple drafts addressing the offensive skill positions; RB Najee Harris, TE Pat Freiermuth, WR George Pickens, and Pickett at quarterback. At some point, they’ll need to invest elsewhere, especially in the trenches.
But Addison was the only player in the draft Khan mentioned by name throughout all his Tuesday interviews. It’s similar to Colbert a year ago who rarely talked about specific players but mentioned Pickett in the pre-draft process. The board could break for Pittsburgh where the top offensive linemen and top cornerbacks are all off the board. This year’s defensive line class isn’t strong at the top sans Jalen Carter, a sure-fire Top Five pick.
Meaning, when the Steelers get on the clock at #17, their options may feel a bit limited. And they could fall back on a familiar name in Jordan Addison to be another weapon in an offense that needs all the firepower it can get to compete in the rest of the AFC.