The Pittsburgh Steelers made a lot of acquisitions in their linebacker room this offseason. But a new CBS Sports Mock Draft has them dipping back into the well for more help at the position in the 2024 draft.
Chris Trapasso has the Steelers selecting Clemson linebacker Barrett Carter with the 11th overall pick and notes that “Carter has the size and tenacity to be the next quarterback of the Steelers defense.”
Carter, who checks in at 6-1 and 230 pounds, is a junior at Clemson this fall. Head coach Dabo Swinney called him “one of the best pure football players he’s had in 20 years,” and it’s not hard to see why. He played sparingly in 2021, before bursting onto the scene last season with 73 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He played mostly strong-side linebacker last season for Clemson, and does have the ability to be effective in pass rushing, stopping the run, and even shows the ability to drop back into coverage.
Clemson went into the season as a top-ten team in the country but fell all the way to unranked after an embarrassing loss to Duke last weekend. Carter himself missed a big tackle on Duke QB Reily Leonard. While Clemson’s playoff hopes may be dead, it’ll be interesting to see how Carter bounces back over the rest of the season.
As the number one linebacker in his high school recruiting class, Carter was coveted by many schools but chose Clemson of the likes of Alabama and others. After his relatively quiet freshman campaign, his sophomore breakout has him placed among the best linebackers in the 2024 NFL draft class. Even with his campaign, however, he’s been a bit of a late riser, as he was just 47th on Pro Football Focus’ Summer Big Board a few months ago, but is now up to 24th.
Although the Steelers added guys like Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb, a lot of their linebacking room plays situational roles at the moment. Carter could give them a true do-it-all presence that the team has been lacking over the last few years.
Keep in mind that Carter likely wouldn’t be available with a later pick should the Steelers turn it around this season. The draft order was determined by the current betting line win totals for each team.
Trapasso has three quarterbacks going in the top 10 USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye, and Michigan’s J.J. McCarty, the latter two being taken with the two picks right before Pittsburgh’s. Williams is the consensus number one overall selection at this point in the process.