The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books and we can take a step back and review the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft class and, just as importantly, the team’s process. That’s especially notable in Omar Khan’s first draft season and class, replacing Kevin Colbert who held that role from 2000 to 2022.
Two days ago, we noted the changes in the Steelers’ structure under Khan during the 2023 NFL Draft and draft process. Today, we’ll cover what seems to be the same as it was under Colbert.
Khan Hitting The Pro Day Trail
Kevin Colbert was an old-school football junkie. He wanted to watch these guys in person and right or wrong, trusted his eyes over the new-age analytics wave. So he and Mike Tomlin would hit as many Pro Days as any coach/GM pairing in the NFL. Khan proved he was cut from a similar cloth, attending seven Pro Days in 2023, all with Mike Tomlin.
Beyond that, he also attended this year’s Hula Bowl, the HBCU Combine (the only NFL GM to attend), the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and those slew of Pro Days and dinners. No team works harder scouting than the Steelers and that hasn’t changed under Khan.
Importance Of Positional Coaches And Draft Picks + The Blue’s Clues
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft Blue’s Clues are alive and well. For another year, the team’s Pro Day streak continues. Every year since at least 2010, the Steelers’ first-round pick has had Mike Tomlin and/or the GM attend his Pro Day. Both men were in Athens this year to dine with Broderick Jones.
Beyond that, the correlation between Steelers’ positional coaches remains strong. DC Teryl Austin and DBs Coach Grady Brown attended Penn State’s Pro Day where 2nd rounder Joey Porter Jr. was selected (though he was expected to go in Round One), while fourth round pick Nick Herbig had LBs Coach Aaron Curry attend his Badgers workout. Second round pick Keeanu Benton was also there though obviously, Curry didn’t work him out specifically.
Focus On Athletes & Character
Hearts, smarts, and athleticism. Pillars of Colbert’s draft classes, especially post-Jarvis Jones and Martavis Bryant and something that continued under Khan. As data-king Kent Lee Platte’s numbers show, six of seven of the Steelers’ selections had an RAS of 8.9 or better. The only exception was of Nick Herbig, who still had a respectable 7.75.
That tracks with previous picks and classes, especially at the top. Devin Bush (9.33), T.J. Watt (9.91), and Terrell Edmunds (9.89) all had high RAS scores just as Jones did at 9.58.
Across the board, this class is also squeaky clean off the field. Jones, Porter, Benton, Washington, Herbig, Trice, and Anderson, there’s no information out there over any of these guys being a problem off the field. All upstanding guys who are expected to represent the team well.