No Steelers Invited To NFL Players Rookie Premiere

It appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft selections weren’t considered “splashy” enough for the National Football League’s annual rookie showcase.

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero recently tweeted a list of the rookies who were invited to attend the annual NFL Players Rookie Premiere on May 18-21 in Los Angeles. The league invited 45 rookies form various NFL teams, but no Steelers made the cut.

Last season, three Steelers made an appearance at the Rookie Premiere with QB Kenny Pickett and WRs George Pickens and Calvin Austin III in attendance. The premiere is often catered to offensive skill position players, hence why Pittsburgh had good representation last season. Still, the league has put more of an emphasis on including defensive players the last several seasons and invited EDGEs Will Anderson Jr. and Tyree Wilson this season.

Pittsburgh’s 2023 draft focused more on the trenches, with the Steelers selecting OT Broderick Jones in the first round along with DL Keeanu Benton in the second round and OL Spencer Anderson in the seventh round. Offensive linemen and interior defensive linemen rarely get invited, making their exclusion expected. Leaving CB Joey Porter Jr. off the list also makes sense since he had several other cornerbacks drafted ahead of him, and no DBs were invited to the event.

Still, the exclusion of TE Darnell Washington is rather odd given the fact that four other TEs made the cut and Washington was considered one of the best TEs in the class before sliding on draft day due to medicals. Perhaps the NFL Players Association, which sent out the invites, was reading CBS Sports analyst Pete Prisco’s recent article where he stated that he didn’t like Pittsburgh’s selection of Washington in the third round and suggested that he should pack on some weight and move to offensive tackle. While a dominant blocker, Washington is an underrated pass catcher who flashed at Georgia and could have his best football ahead of him should he receive the opportunity.

It’s not unheard of to have teams with no representation at the Rookie Premiere. However, it’s kind of discouraging that a draft class that was seen as one of the best in the league a week ago doesn’t get one representative to attend. Regardless, Pittsburgh should be elated with the draft haul they came away with, even if it doesn’t get recognition from the NFL Players Association.

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