NFL Draft

Steelers Earn High Grades On Trio Of Day 2 Draft Picks From CBS Sports

The good vibes and rave reviews keep rolling in for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2023 NFL Draft.

One day after earning a high grade for the selection of Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones in the first round at No. 14 overall, the Steelers earned a trio of high grades Friday following three Day 2 selections in an impressive haul. They landed Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. at No. 32 overall, Wisconsin defensive tackle Keeanu Benton at No. 49 overall, and Georgia tight end Darnell Washington at No. 93 overall following a trade down from No. 80 overall.

The Steelers earned an “A+” for the Porter Jr. pick, a “B+” for the Benton selection, and an “A-” for the selection of Washington from CBS Sports, capping off a very strong day for the Black and Gold. 

At No. 32 overall, the Steelers found themselves in a great situation to open Day 2 of the draft with the pick acquired in the trade of Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears at the trade deadline last season. With names like Porter Jr., and Alabama’s Brian Branch on the board, not to mention quarterbacks Will Levis and Hendon Hooker available, the Steelers were in a great spot, whether they decided to stay and pick, or trade down and get some serious draft capital in return.

Clearly, the Steelers stayed and selected Porter, getting a guy who was often mocked to them at No. 17 overall throughout the pre-draft process. For CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso, that selection warranted an “A+” for the Steelers.

“Exceptionally long, man-coverage corner. Play is a bit up and down, but his highs are All-Pro caliber. Athletic and plus ball skills. Exactly what the Steelers need,” Trapasso wrote regarding the selection of Porter Jr. 

He is exactly what the Steelers like in a cornerback. His length and physicality match what Pittsburgh wants in a press-man corner. It also helps that he has the bloodlines the Steelers look for as his father, Joey Sr., played for the Steelers and won a Super Bowl.

Following the strong start to Day 2 for the Steelers, Pittsburgh again sat tight and landed Benton at No. 49 overall, addressing a major need along the defensive line. For that selection, Trapasso gave the Steelers a “B+”.

“Benton fits the Steelers’ prototype. No-nonsense masher on the inside who plays with outstanding burst and powerful, active hands. Plenty of athleticism to get lateral. Not a major pass rusher,” Trapasso wote.

Benton is a run-stopping defensive lineman first and did it at a high level at Wisconsin the last two seasons. He’ll start out at nose tackle in Pittsburgh, which is a major area of need. He could find his game as a pass rusher with more opportunities, which simply weren’t there at Wisconsin.

After landing Porter Jr. and Benton, the Steelers closed out Day 2 in style, getting Washington. Pittsburgh moved out of No. 80 overall, trading down to No. 93 overall with the Carolina Panthers, landing No. 132 in the fourth round in the process. At No. 93 overall, the Steelers got their guy in Washington, earning an “A-” from CBS Sports.

“Tall, thick, young ultra-powerful TE. Will be the 6th OL when he’s on the field. That good of a blocker. Low-volume receiver in college but flashed bulldozer YAC talent and has an enormous catch radius though there are some drops on film. All-Pro upside,” Trapasso wrote regarding the selection of Washington. 

Washington only fell to No. 93 overall due to some concerns about his knee. He downplayed the concerns during his conference call with Steelers reporters Friday night, stating he’s never had a knee injury in his career. That fall in the draft worked in Pittsburgh’s favor as it got a freak athlete who will be a matchup nightmare for defenses moving forward.

The grades certainly check out from CBS Sports as Pittsburgh is having one of the best drafts in the NFL through two days.

Pittsburgh has three picks on Day 3 — No. 132 overall in the fourth round and then No. 241 and No. 251 in the seventh round. We’ll see how GM Omar Khan and the Steelers close out the draft. So far, they’re on a heater.

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