The Steelers spent their first of two seventh-round draft picks on Purdue CB Cory Trice, selecting him at #241 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Trice can be seen as a value at this juncture of the draft as our own Alex Kozora gave him a late Day-Two grade.
Defensive backs coach Grady Brown spoke to the media Saturday following the selection of Trice. He was asked about the selections of Trice and Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. and the traits those cornerbacks have that made them attractive options to the Steelers, who opted to take two long defensive backs.
“It’s important,” Brown said via video from the Steelers YouTube channel. “I mean, you look at the guys that we have to play in our division, you look at the receivers that we have to cover in our division. You look at the backs that we have to tackle in our division. Size and length and toughness is definitely important. And like I said, we’ll look good getting off the bus, so we just gotta coach ’em up and get ’em going in the right direction.”
After drafting Porter, who stands over 6’2 with a long wingspan, in the second round, Pittsburgh landed Trice near the end of the draft and he stands 6033, 206lb with 32 3/8” arms. Both are physically imposing corners with the length to jam WRs at the LOS as well as the size to get into the mix in run defense.
Brown has a great point regarding the need to have size at CB to play the run in the AFC North. J.K. Dobbins, Nick Chubb, and Joe Mixon can be a load to tackle in the open field, so size and stopping power can be seen as a plus at cornerback. Porter and Trice’s length should also help them cover receivers in the division like Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Amari Cooper, and Mark Andrews. All bring size and physicality to their respective passing games. Higgins and Chase are contested-catch machines for the Bengals, meaning Pittsburgh needs big, physical CBs who can match up with these receivers and challenge them at the catch point.
Pittsburgh has shown us what it covets in the secondary. The Steelers’ CB room, outside of Arthur Maulet in the slot, has players who stands above 6’0. Porter and Trice only add to that length. Hopefully with further development and coaching, these two rookies can maximize their length and size on the outside for the Black and Gold.