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Pair Of NFL Draft Analysts Label Steelers As ‘Day 2 Winners’ Following Impressive Haul

After a rather strong first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, after which the Pittsburgh Steelers were called a “winner” by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., GM Omar Khan followed up with a tremendous Day 2 for the Black and Gold, earning more praise from the draft analysts.

After adding Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr, and Wisconsin defensive lineman Keeanu Benton and then Georgia tight end Darnell Washington following a trade down from No. 80 to No. 93 with the Carolina Panthers, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said the Steelers are his Day 2 winners in the draft.

“I love what they are putting together,” Jeremiah tweeted following the conclusion of Day 2 of the NFL Draft in Kansas City.

It wasn’t just Jeremiah, either.

Kiper Jr. called the Steelers one of his Day 2 “winners” as well, praising Khan and Co. for the additions of Porter Jr., Benton and Washington.

“The Steelers kicked off Day 2 with a guy I thought they might take in Round 1. I had matched Porter to them at No. 17 a couple of times, but they instead addressed their O-line on Thursday. They waited out the corners and landed my No. 22 overall prospect. Porter is long and physical, and though he only had one career interception, I think his ball skills will improve at the next level. The son of another former Pittsburgh draft pick landed in a perfect spot. And he’ll get to learn the tricks of the trade from veteran Patrick Peterson,” Kiper wrote regarding the selection of Porter Jr. and why it factored into the Steelers being a winner for “The Steelers also added the big defensive tackle Benton, and though I’m lower on him than Todd McShay, I see why they did it. He’s my No. 6 defensive tackle; I thought he’d go in Round 3. This isn’t that big of a reach, but he needs to be more than just a run-stuffer to up his game. On tape, I see him flash pass-rush talent, but he wasn’t consistent enough.

“As for Washington, I believe he dropped because of some medical concerns, though I don’t have details. At 6-foot-7, 264 pounds, he has a first-round frame and is extremely talented, but he didn’t produce much at Georgia. If he gets healthy, though, this could be tremendous value.”

It’s hard to not love what the Steelers did on Day 2.

Following a trade up in the first round on Thursday to acquire Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones, the Steelers sat tight early on Day 2. They grabbed Porter Jr. with the first pick of the second round, No. 32 overall, and Benton with their original second-round pick picks at No. 49, They got tremendous value with Porter Jr., who was projected to be a first-round pick, a theme that continued Friday night as the second and third rounds played out.

The coup though was the selection of Washington. After trading down from No. 80 to No. 93 with the Carolina Panthers, acquiring pick No. 132 in the fourth round in the process, the Steelers landed Washington to round out a tremendous Day 2.

The addition of Washington will allow the Steelers to really lean on 12 personnel with tight ends Pat Freiermuth and Washington. That is another component of what could be a rather physical, imposing rushing attack behind a rebuilt offensive line that has added Jones on the outside and free agent signees Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig to bolster the interior. As offensive coordinator Matt Canada said Friday night, it’s no secret what the Steelers are aiming to do offensively.

Through two days, the Steelers are having a heck of a first draft for Khan and Co. Day three offers just three picks at No. 132 overall, No. 241 and No. 251. We’ll see if Khan can close the draft in style on Day 3. Based on his work so far, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

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