Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft Grades 2023: Steelers Add Broderick Jones to O-Line, Joey Porter Jr. to Secondary

What are the Pittsburgh Steelers' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

The 2023 NFL Draft allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to build around Kenny Pickett ahead of his second year as the face of the franchise. Did they put together a class capable of facilitating a return to the playoffs? The Steelers’ NFL Draft grades tell the story of how Pittsburgh’s 2023 haul unfolded.

Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft Grades

Round 1, Pick 14: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

The Pittsburgh Steelers swapped the 17th overall pick and a fourth-round selection to the New England Patriots to nail down the long-term pass protector for second-year face of the franchise Kenny Pickett. With offensive line arguably being the Steelers’ biggest need in the 2023 NFL Draft, they leapfrogged the New York Jets and Washington Commanders to land Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones.

While Jones has some elements of his game that he needs to develop in order to produce at the highest level, he’s a violent people mover with the explosive athleticism to impact the game in multiple phases. He’s been the cornerstone of an offensive line that has landed Georgia consecutive national titles. The combination of talent and the move to land him contribute to the Steelers’ grade for the 14th overall pick.

Grade: B+

Round 2, Pick 32: Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

The legacy pick! A popular choice in mock drafts through the process due to his family relationship with the program, Joey Porter Jr. offers great value for the Steelers with the 32nd overall pick. The Penn State product was the 17th-ranked prospect and third-ranked CB on the PFN Big Board.

Porter boasts the size and length to be an impactful playmaker on the perimeter for the Steelers, while his straight-line speed and football intelligence ensure he makes turnover-worthy plays at all levels of the defense. Concerns over his fluidity may have caused something of a slide for Porter, but the Steelers have to be happy grabbing a player of need who might also have been the best player available on their board.

Grade: A-

Round 2, Pick 49: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin

Having upgraded their secondary and offensive line with their first two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers had a long-term solution at the heart of the defensive front. The addition of Keeanu Benton gives Pittsburgh a DT who dominates with leverage, overpowers with strength, and wins with technical excellence from his refined handwork.

A four-year starter in the Big Ten, Benton will be ready to roll in an equally hostile AFC North. There were some options at arguably greater positions of need that prevents the grade for this second-round pick from attaining an A-.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Pick 93: Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

The Steelers are clearly committed to helping Najee Harris succeed, adding tight end Darnell Washington to play as an extension of their offensive line. Washington’s size and athleticism have made him an intriguing option in the passing game despite a lack of exposure in the Bulldogs’ offense.

However, it’s his physicality and nasty demeanor as a run-blocking TE that should have Steelers fans excited about what the Pittsburgh offense can look like in 2023 and beyond. Considered a potential first-round pick, some injury concerns might have facilitated a fall. It just means that it’s an extremely good value pick for Pittsburgh in what is turning out to be an impressive draft so far.

Grade: A-

Round 4, Pick 132: Nick Herbig, EDGE, Wisconsin

The Pittsburgh Steelers double dip from the Wisconsin Badgers, adding edge rusher Nick Herbig to second-round pick Keeanu Benton. His fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker in this Pittsburgh defense is tantalizing.

He lives in the opposing backfield, making a productive counterpart to T.J. Watt. A decent athlete, he’ll boast football intelligence as a potential situational pass rusher early in his NFL career before becoming a starter for the Steelers.

Pick Grade: A-

Round 7, Pick 241: Cory Trice, CB, Purdue

Purdue cornerback Cory Trice was the 118th overall prospect on the PFN Big Board, helping secure an A grade for this seventh-round selection. With Joey Porter Jr. manning one outside spot, Trice projects to be more of a long-term option than an instant-impact player.

However, his size and length are reminiscent of Tariq Woolen coming out of college while he has the explosion and fluidity to be sticky in man coverage. He also possesses the football intelligence to make plays on the ball in zone. Pittsburgh couldn’t ask for more out of a final-round pick — if the presumed medical issues that facilitated a fall check out.

Pick Grade: A

Round 7, Pick 251: Spencer Anderson, C, Maryland

The Steelers start and end the 2023 NFL Draft in the same way, by selecting an offensive lineman. While Spencer Anderson might not achieve the same level of attention as first-round pick Jones, he’s similarly explosive in how he attacks the game.

With some alluring technical ability already evident on his tape, he also demonstrates football intelligence, strength, and versatility. A solid way to round out their class.

Grade: B

What Were the Steelers’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

  • C, OT, EDGE, WR, CB

The Steelers’ offensive line isn’t a complete disaster. It overperformed relative to expectations a season ago, and the addition of Isaac Seumalo should help even more. But adding a more high-profile name to the book ends of the offensive line would behoove Pittsburgh, and while Mason Cole is insulated by two good guards, he’s entirely replaceable.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s starters on the edge are set, but they absolutely need depth at the position, and the 2023 NFL Draft could provide the Steelers with the kind of outside linebackers they prefer. Cornerback is more of a long-term need at this point, and while they could stand to add a receiver or two, seeing how George Pickens and Calvin Austin III progress could be the direction the organization goes.

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