Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: 2023 Rookie Class Tale Of The Tape


I’ve tracked the progress of the Steelers draft classes for the past few seasons. I compare Steelers rookies picked in the first three rounds with their contemporaries drafted in nearby rounds by other teams and playing similar positions. We’ll track Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton, and Darnell Washington to see how they stack up with their contemporaries over the next few seasons.

We start with player performances at the NFL Combine or Pro Days listed here. Not sure if it is a trend, but several players opted not to participate in all the drills. I have links to every player’s draft profile so you can compare how the Depot staff evaluated everyone.

Let me know if there are other players you want tracked against these Steelers rookies in the comments section. I’ll update their performances at midseason.


Name HT WT 40 yd Bench Broad Shuttle 3 Cone Vertical
Paris Johnson 78 313 110
Darnell Wright 77 333 5.01 114 29.0
Peter Skoronski 76 313 5.16 115 7.80 34.5
Broderick Jones 77 311 4.97 108 30.0
Anton Harrison 76 315 4.98 105 28.5

All numbers from Combine or Pro Day

Tackle Summary

Three offensive linemen were selected early in the draft. Then Omar Kahn executed his power move to move up and select Broderick Jones. Many people believed Darnell Wright was destined for Pittsburgh. But the Bears selected him 10th overall. Tennessee followed by picking Peter Skoronski. Kahn traded a fourth-round pick to exchange positions with the Patriots and draft Jones just before the Jets’ turn. Jacksonville took Anton Harrison later in the first round. It will be fun to see which of these linemen will anchor their respective team’s lines over the next four to five seasons.


Name HT WT 40 yd Bench Broad Shuttle 3 Cone Vertical
Devon Witherspoon 72 181
Emmanuel Forbes 73 166 4.35 131 37.5
Christian Gonzalez 73 197 4.38 14 133 41.5
Deonte Banks 72 197 4.35 136 42.0
Joey Porter Jr 75 193 4.46 17 129 35.0
Julius Brents 75 198 4.53 138 4.05 6.63 41.5
Jartavius Martin 71 194 4.46 15 133 44.0
Cory Trice Jr 75 206 4.47 17 132 35.5

All numbers from Combine or Pro Day

Cornerback Summary

Many pundits described the cornerback position as deep in 2023. Joey Porter Jr. was a fan favorite and widely projected to be selected by the Steelers in the first round if available at pick 17. Four cornerbacks selected in the first round though Porter not one of them. The Steelers nearly took their full 10 minutes to see if anyone would give up a ransom to begin day two. No one willing to pay the price and Pittsburgh was rewarded with Porter with pick 32. Pittsburgh also selected Cory Trice Jr in the seventh round. He was expected to be drafted on day two but slid down due to his injury history.


Name HT WT 40 yd Bench Broad Shuttle 3 Cone Vertical
Calijah Kancey 73 281 4.67
Mazi Smith 75 323 34
Bryan Bresee 78 298 4.86 22 29.0
Keeanu Benton 76 309 5.08 25 111 4.65 7.34 29.5
Gervon Dexter 78 310 4.88 22 110 7.50 31.0
Kobie Turner 75 290
Brodric Martin 77 330

All numbers from Combine or Pro Day

Defensive Tackle Summary

Teams selected 15 defensive linemen in the first and second rounds. This will be more difficult to compare since some play in the interior and others are traditional defensive ends or projected edge defenders. I’ve screened out players projected to play defensive end or edge. This should leave the seven interior defensive linemen drafted on day one or two with Keeanu Benton right in the middle of the pack. It will be fun to see if his relative performance pushes him toward the top of this group.


Name HT WT 40 yd Bench Broad Shuttle 3 Cone Vertical
Dalton Kincaid 76 246          
Sam LaPorta 75 245 123 4.25 6.91 35.0
Michael Mayer 77 249 118 32.5
Luke Musgrave 78 253 125 36.0
Luke Schoonmaker 77 251 127 4.27 33.5
Brenton Strange 76 253 23 124 4.46 7.25 36.0
Tucker Kraft 77 255
Darnell Washington 79 264 21 122 4.08 31.0
Cameron Latu 76 242 4.78 14 4.32 7.31 32.5

All numbers from Combine or Pro Day

Tight End Summary

Teams selected nine tight ends in the first three rounds. Many Depot readers thought Darnell Washington might be drafted in the first round. Certainly, no later than the second round. Surprisingly, Washington was available in the third round and Pittsburgh selected him with the 93rd overall pick. Seven others were drafted ahead of him with injury history cited as the reason for his slide. But others say those reports exaggerated. Steelers Depot contributor Dr. Melanie Friedlander concludes that Washington should be ready to participate in rookie minicamp and OTAs. But she expects team physicians and trainers to monitor him for any right knee swelling. If the health concerns turn out to be overblown, Washington could be a steal in the draft.

Day Three Selections

Pittsburgh doubled up on one position on day three. Cornerback Cory Trice pairs nicely with Joey Porter. But similar injury concerns drove his draft stock down. Could be another steal if he has overcome prior injuries to his left leg.

Name POS HT WT 40 yd Bench Broad Shuttle 3 Cone Vertical
Nick Herbig LB 74 240 4.65 25      
Spencer Anderson G 77 309 5.16 29 117 5.00 7.63 30.5

All numbers from Combine or Pro Day

Pittsburgh also picked up Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig. His brother Nate signed with the Steelers as a free agent in March. Herbig is a versatile player who can play inside or on the edge. Steelers OLB coach Denzel Martin stated Herbig would start out at OLB.  Some are concerned about his size and perhaps the Steelers will play him both inside and outside. The final selection was guard Spencer Anderson out of Maryland.

It will be interesting to see if the third-day selections are contributors to the Steelers by midseason.

Undrafted Free Agents

The Steelers signed seven undrafted free agents. Let’s see how many of these players make the practice squad or even end up on the 53-man roster as the 2023 season progresses. The Steelers still have three open positions, perhaps reserved for the end of the XFL and/or USFL seasons.

POS Name School
QB Tanner Morgan Minnesota
RB Jordan Byrd San Diego State
FB Monte Pottebaum Iowa
Edge David Perales Fresno State
DL James Nyamwaya Merrimack College
K B.T. Potter Clemson
C Trevor Downing Iowa State


Your Music Selection

I always like to include a bit of music. The Steelers completed their 2023 draft, Omar Khan’s first draft as general manager. The draft was a long time coming. But now a long time gone. Here is Long Time Gone by Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

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