New Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson won’t be in the team’s war room when it comes time to making the 17th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. But he has a suggestion for the Steelers’ brass.
Appearing on NFL Network Wednesday evening, he named the one prospect who would pair perfectly with the Steelers.
“With the Pittsburgh selection, I’ll go with Dawand Jones out of Ohio State,” Peterson told the show. “A 6’8 prospect, 362 pounds, this guy played in the Big Ten against great competition. So he’s a proven talent.”
The Steelers have had their eye on Jones, the biggest prospect in this year’s draft (though he weighed in above 362 at the NFL Combine) and one of its top tackles. With strength, length, and good hand use, he’s able to use his size to seal edge rushers and his strength to anchor and stall out bull rushes. As you might expect, he’s strong in the run game and fits Pittsburgh’s identity of running the football, something the Steelers found their footing with the second half of last year.
Jones’ pre-draft process has been a bit bumpy. He saw just one practice at the Senior Bowl, didn’t lose weight for the Combine, and opted against even getting on the scale at his Pro Day. He also did not go through any drills, instead watching teammate Paris Johnson Jr. go through the paces. There will be questions about his weight and work ethic at the next level.
Still, it’s possible Peterson gets his wish. Jones at #17 isn’t out of the question but getting him at #32 is more plausible. Pittsburgh’s done plenty of homework on the draft’s top tackles, including Jones. While he’d help in the run game, Peterson also noted it would benefit QB Kenny Pickett and the Steelers’ passing game.
“This guy had not given up a sack in 419 pass blocks,” Peterson said.
No Steelers coach was more active on the Pro Day trail this year than OL Coach Pat Meyer. The Steelers figure to draft at least one lineman, maybe two, as they build the trenches in a similar model to the Philadelphia Eagles, where Assistant GM Andy Weidl came from.
Of course, Peterson has another incentive to vouch for o-line help. Pittsburgh’s also in the market for a corner, potentially looking for Peterson’s eventual replacement, and the earlier the pick, the sooner that corner will hit the field.
Check out our complete scouting report on Jones below.