With the 2023 NFL Draft now in the books, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ haul in the first draft under GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl continues to be universally lauded.
Following the conclusion of Day 3 in Kansas City, the overall draft class of offensive tackle Broderick Jones, cornerback Joey Porter Jr., defensive lineman Keeanu Benton, tight end Darnell Washington, linebacker Nick Herbig, cornerback Cory Trice Jr. and offensive lineman Spencer Anderson earned a grade of “A+” from Pro Football Focus Saturday.
The Steelers were one of five teams with an “A+” grade from PFF, along with the Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles.
“The Steelers’ incredible draft continues [on Day 3]. Herbig played on the edge at Wisconsin but figures to be more of a ‘tweener in the NFL, and that’s likely why he wasn’t a higher pick. He knows how to rush the passer, though, as he won 23.9% of his pass-rushing snaps in 2022 and earned a 91.1 pass-rush grade,” PFF wrote regarding the Steelers’ draft class. “Ranked 77th on PFF’s big board, Trice is a physically imposing corner at 6-foot-3 who is extremely aggressive at the line of scrimmage and tackles well.
“Anderson is the only pick by the Steelers where the player has been outside the top 80 of the PFF big board. Anderson produced a 79.8 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2022 but struggled as a run blocker.”
After landing Jones, Porter, Benton and Washington through the first two days, Khan, Andy Weidl and Co. closed out the draft in style, landing Herbig, Trice Jr. and Anderson, getting good value with players like Herbig and Trice. Both were both rated rather highly on the consensus draft boards before slipping in the draft due to questions about size (Herbig) and medicals (Trice).
Entering Day 3, whatever the Steelers were able to do with their three picks was going to be gravy on top of a rather remarkable haul through three rounds.
Trading up for Jones to ensure they jumped the New York Jets was a savvy move, as was sitting tight and taking Porter Jr. and Benton in the second round. The Steelers then moved down from No. 80 to No. 93 with the Panthers, picking up a fourth-round pick in the process, and had Washington — a first-round caliber tight end — fall into their lap.
The Steelers couldn’t have put together a better draft based on the selections made. Pittsburgh landed high-end talent in all but the final draft slot, though Anderson could be a serviceable depth piece for a few years in the trenches due to his versatility and experience.
It was certainly a home run draft, one that could be a foundational haul, and definitely deserves the “A+” grade from PFF.