The 2023 NFL Draft turned out to be quite a haul for the Pittsburgh Steelers, with them landing Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones in the first round and then Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr., Wisconsin defensive tackle Keeanu Benton and Georgia tight end Darnell Washington in the second and third rounds.
That top four picks, along with the additions of Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig, Purdue cornerback Cory Trice Jr. and Maryland offensive lineman Spencer Anderson made the Steelers a consensus winner coming out of the three-day event in Kansas City last weekend.
The Steelers were NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund overall winner in the draft, and that is in large part due to the work the Steelers put in last Friday under GM Omar Khan.
“Day 2 is where the Steelers really made their mark in this draft,” Frelund said in a video for NFL.com that dropped Friday morning. “Pittsburgh had the first pick of the second round after trading Chase Claypool to the Bears last trade deadline, and used it to select corner Joey Porter Jr., who most thought would be a first-round selection.
“He’s an obvious culture fit with his dad winning a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh, but he also fills a need for Mike Tomlin’s defense, who allowed 13 touchdowns to receivers in 2022…This draft puts Pittsburgh in a position to compete in the AFC North.”
The Steelers definitely cleaned up nicely on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, starting with Porter. The long, physical cornerback is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Steelers’ defense, and they got two of them with Porter and Trice, who was a steal in his own right coming off the board in the seventh round at No. 241 overall.
Pittsburgh has rebuilt its cornerback room after losing Cameron Sutton to the Detroit Lions in free agency, bringing in veteran Patrick Peterson to try and replace some of Sutton’s production and leadership. Porter and Trice will help a cornerback room that was tied for the second-most touchdowns allowed to receivers lined up out wide in 2022 with 13, as Frelund pointed out.
Also on Day 2, the Steelers added Benton and Washington, shoring up the trenches on both sides of the football and really solidifying a great draft for Pittsburgh.
Thanks to some retooling in free agency and an excellent draft overall, Pittsburgh is right there in the picture to compete in the AFC North once again, especially as the rest of the teams in the division become hamstrung by large quarterback contracts for Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson and (soon) Joe Burrow.