The Pittsburgh Steelers knocked the 2023 NFL Draft out of the park, nailing positions of need with premium talent at great value from the first round to the final picks in the seventh round. GM Omar Khan and the front office were aggressive in securing their LT of the future in Georgia’s Broderick Jones, moving up to #14 overall to select him.
The likely favorite for the #17th overall pick, Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr., managed to fall out of the first round altogether and into Pittsburgh’s lap at the beginning of Day Two. Not having a sweet enough offer to move off the pick, the Steelers made Porter a Steeler, having him follow in his father’s footsteps and don the Black and Gold.
Many outlets considered Porter to be one of the biggest steals of the draft, including ESPN’s Todd McShay. But speaking on the latest edition of the All Things Covered Podcast, which aired on the show’s YouTube channel, Steelers CB Patrick Peterson believes that Pittsburgh landed a bigger steal than Porter in the third round.
“What I thought was the steal of the draft, although Joey Porter Jr. we kind of thought where we would kind of get him… man, Darnell Washington,” Peterson said on All Things Covered. “Ooooo. To me, I thought that was the steal of the draft, and knowing the history of the draft, those third rounders… hey man, [tight ends] always come out special for some odd reason.”
While nabbing a player like Porter, who was considered by many to be a top 15 prospect, is great value having a player of the caliber like Georgia TE Darnell Washington available to you at #93 overall in the third round is downright absurd. GM Omar Khan said it best in the post-draft press conference, stating that he was very surprised that Washington was still on the board and that he didn’t expect the mammoth TE to be sitting there after Pittsburgh traded back from #80 overall with the Carolina Panthers.
Khan mentioned that Washington was the top player on the Steelers’ board at that point, and for good reason. The 6’7, 264lb TE is a freak of nature who possesses the size and strength to overwhelm defenders as a physical blocker in the running game while also possessing the athleticism, hands, and body control to be a viable weapon in the passing game. Washington fell due to concerns regarding knee swelling at the NFL Combine. But for a player who isn’t currently dealing with a major injury, the risk is easily worth the reward after Pittsburgh medically cleared him.
The Steelers nailed the draft from start to finish and got their guys at a value starting with Broderick Jones in the first round to CB Cory Trice, Jr. in the seventh round. I personally side with Peterson in saying that Washington was this team’s biggest value and likely the steal of the entire 2023 NFL Draft. The Steelers landed a player that was seen as a borderline first-round pick with tons of untapped potential at the end of the third round.