Team President Art Rooney II Says Adding Physicality Was Goal Of Steelers’ Draft: ‘We Definitely Got Bigger’

It’s not hard to spot the theme of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 draft. Or their entire offseason. Add big, physical, aggressive players on both sides of the football. That mission began in free agency with guards Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig along with defensive pieces like nose tackle Breiden Fehoko, Armon Watts, and linebacker Elandon Roberts.

Pittsburgh cranked the dial to 11 in the draft. It added OT Broderick Jones in the first round, CB Joey Porter Jr. and DL Keeanu Benton in the second round, and TE Darnell Washington in the third round. All huge figures for their position with strength and physicality. In reviewing the team’s picks during an appearance on Steelers’ Nation Radio, team President Art Rooney II said the team’s goal was to become a more physical bunch this weekend.

“I think physicality is something we’ve talked about,” Rooney told SNR. “Size, we definitely got bigger in this draft, no question about that. Getting Broderick, the kind of presence, that physical presence he has and then Darnell Washington, those are some big dudes to have up front. Which is gonna be fun to see.”

Jones has solid size at 6’5, 313 pounds with long, nearly 35-inch arms. What separates him is his rare athleticism, the ability to pull and function in space like few offensive tackles have. He’s not finesse either, comparing his game to future Hall of Fame tackle Trent Williams with a mean streak and the nasty to finish his blocks.

Porter Jr. is widely regarded as the top press-man corner in the draft. He has extreme length with 34-inch arms and the ability and willingness to come up and support the run. He should make an immediate impact.

Benton is a former high school wrestling star who can control blocks in the run game, though his technique needs work in order to gain consistency. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin confirmed he’ll begin his Steelers career as a nose tackle though he has the athleticism to play all over Pittsburgh’s front.

Washington’s physicality needs no introduction. Possessing one of the rarest body types in the entire draft class, Washington is 6’7, 264 pounds with 34 3/8-inch arms and one of the class’s best in-line blockers. Though this comes just against a sled, below you can see his technique and power as a blocker compared to his peers, who tend to play too high to be able to drive off the ball.

Bully ball will be the Steelers’ theme. That’s a product of building upon the identify that started after the bye last season. Focusing on the run game, the Steelers went 7-2 down the stretch. Omar Khan and company used the offseason to refine the idea, adding big and physical guys up front in free agency and through the draft. Pittsburgh’s going old-school in a new-school world

And this draft reflects that.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!