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In the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers were aggressive in trading up from No. 17 to No. 14 to select Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones to help protect Kenny Pickett for years to come.
The Steelers have been given glowing reviews of their draft, the first for general manager Omar Khan, by many in the media. Who did they choose and what can we expect from this class in 2023?
Steelers Draft Picks 2023
- 1 Steelers Draft Picks 2023
- 1.1 First-Round Pick (14th Overall): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
- 1.2 Second-Round Pick (32nd Overall): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
- 1.3 Second-Round Pick (49th Overall): Keeanu Benton, NT, Wisconsin
- 1.4 Third-Round Pick (93rd Overall): Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
- 1.5 Fourth-Round Pick (132nd Overall): Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin
- 1.6 Seventh-Round Pick (241st Overall): Cory Trice, CB, Purdue
- 1.7 Seventh-Round Pick (251st Overall): Spencer Anderson, OL, Maryland
- 2 Steelers Draft Grade: A
- 3 What to Expect for 2023
First-Round Pick (14th Overall): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- Age: 21
- Hometown: Lithonia, Georgia
- School: Georgia
- Class: R-Sophomore
- Height: 6’5”
- Weight: 311 lbs
- Arm: 34 3/4”
- Hand: 10 5/8”
NFL Combine Results
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.97 seconds
- 10-Yard Split: 1.74 seconds
- Vertical Jump: 30”
- Broad Jump: 9’0”
Broderick Jones College Career
Jones was a redshirt freshman at Georgia in 2020. He started the 2021 national championship season as a reserve before starting the final four games at left tackle. In repeating as champions, Georgia gave Jones the left tackle job permanently in 2022 and he had his best season after starting all 15 games.
Georgia OT Broderick Jones is on his way to the Steelers at No. 14 🔥
Pittsburg is adding to their offense pic.twitter.com/RdwKQnQcZ7
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) April 28, 2023
Second-Round Pick (32nd Overall): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
The Steelers opened the second day of the draft with exactly the kind of move you would expect this franchise to make. They drafted Joey Porter Jr., the son of former linebacker standout, fan favorite, and assistant coach Joey Porter.
But before you chalk it up to nepotism, Porter Jr. was one of the best-graded corner prospects in this class, and it is certainly a position of need as you can never have enough good corners in the modern NFL.
Second-Round Pick (49th Overall): Keeanu Benton, NT, Wisconsin
The Steelers added some real size to their interior defensive line with Keeanu Benton, who is 6’4” and 315 pounds. He had 9.0 sacks in his four years at Wisconsin, and half of those were in his final season. He can take over as the starting nose tackle this season and get plenty of invaluable lessons from veteran Cameron Heyward, who will line up next to him.
Third-Round Pick (93rd Overall): Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Washington slid a bit in the draft, but he is a strong blocker and will not be the main pass-catching tight end anyway as that job belongs to Pat Freiermuth. Washington had 45 catches at Georgia and averaged 17.2 yards per catch, which is really high for a tight end.
He can be used in two tight end sets for the offense when it wants to run while also sprinkling him in as a receiver. The 93rd pick is good value to land a player like Washington.
Fourth-Round Pick (132nd Overall): Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin
Nick Herbig’s brother Nate is an offensive guard who the Steelers signed in March of this year.
Seventh-Round Pick (241st Overall): Cory Trice, CB, Purdue
Trice is a lengthy corner (6’3”) with plenty of experience at Purdue where he played safety before moving to corner in 2019.
Seventh-Round Pick (251st Overall): Spencer Anderson, OL, Maryland
Anderson made 32 starts at Maryland and can play multiple positions on the offensive line.
Steelers Draft Grade: A
The Steelers got better than expected play from the offensive line in 2022, but better talent in that unit was still a glaring need going into this draft. Pittsburgh had not used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman since guard David DeCastro in 2012.
Not a normally aggressive team in the first round, the Steelers saw an opportunity with New England picking ahead of the Jets at No. 15 who likely would have taken Broderick to be the left tackle for Aaron Rodgers. The Steelers only had to give up a fourth-round pick this year to move up from No. 17 to No. 14 to get their guy.
Jones is considered one of the best pure left tackles in this draft, so it could be an excellent move if he develops properly with Pickett and Najee Harris in place as the team’s last two first-round picks.
As for the second day, the Steelers did a good job of finding needs and talented players who may have slipped a little in the draft. Many thought Porter could be a first-round pick and Washington could have been in the second round. The Steelers also fulfilled a need at defensive tackle with Benton.
On Day 3, the Steelers surprisingly did not tap into the wide receiver market this year, but they picked up a depth piece at linebacker in Herbig, and they threw some reasonable darts in the seventh round on corner and a versatile offensive linemen, two positions you should always throw some darts at.
What to Expect for 2023
The Steelers could see some immediate returns with this draft class as Jones should push for the starting position at left tackle. With corner Cameron Sutton leaving for Detroit after playing 931 defensive snaps last year, Porter Jr. is going to have his shot to make a big impact in his rookie season.
Benton should also take over the starting nose tackle job, and Washington could play often at tight end as backup Zach Gentry played 40-to-50% of the offensive snaps the last two years behind Freiermuth.
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