The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up an eventful three-day 2023 NFL Draft on Saturday with three more picks, bringing Omar Khan’s total haul to seven new players in the annual selection.
Here’s our player capsules for each of the seven newest Steelers.
ROUND 1, PICK 14
MEASURABLES (AT NFL COMBINE): 6-foot-5, 311 pounds, 82 3/8-inch wingspan, 34 3/4-inch arms, 4.97 40-yard dash, 30-inch vertical jump, 9-foot broad jump
STATS: In his entire career, Jones has played 19 career games at left tackle, and in his junior season with Georgia, did not allow a sack the entire season.
VALUE: Jones was projected to be a consensus first-round draft pick, and was expected to be selected right around where the Steelers selected at No. 17.
EVALUATION: His natural tools stick out as a plus athlete who is already a high-level run blocker at this stage. Jones will have to work on hand usage, footwork, and other areas in pass protection but I am far more of the idea that Jones can play right away while learning how to do just that – Nick Farabaugh
PLAYER QUOTE: “Najee’s a dawg, Kenny Pickett’s a dawg, that’s what Pittsburgh is — they breed dawgs. That’s why Pittsburgh picked me. We’re here to win.”
COACH QUOTE: “He’s got great athletic and intangible qualites about him. We expect him to grow as a player over the next few years, but this is a high-upside player who has the ability to play right now” – Mike Tomlin
JOEY PORTER JR.
ROUND 2, PICK 32
MEASURABLES (at NFL COMBINE): 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, 80 7/8-inch wingspan, 34-inch arms, 4.46 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical jump, 10-foot-7 broad jump, 17 bench reps
STATS: In his four seasons at Penn State, he played in 34 career games, recorded 113 tackles, 1 interception, 1 sack, and 20 pass deflections, with a career-high on 11 in his last season.
VALUE: Most pundits believed that Porter would be gone in the mid-to-late first round, while the Steelers got him in the top of the second round. This is plus value for Pittsburgh.
EVALUATION: Porter has the length of a linebacker. That makes him wholly unique as a cornerback and he is a pest at the line of scrimmage willing to bring the intensity the Steelers want at the cornerback position. . – Nick Farabaugh
PLAYER QUOTE: “You know, after falling out the first round, I have a little edge to me. That’s motivation to me for the rest of my career.”
COACH QUOTE: “Joey will have every opportunity to win a starting opportunity. There are no redshirts, he’ll help us right now. His length is unique and makes him a high-level player.” – Teryl Austin
ROUND 2, PICK 49
MEASURABLES (at NFL COMBINE): 6-foot-3, 309 pounds, 33 3/8-inch arms, 5.08 40-yard dash, 29 1/2-inch vertical, 9-foot-3-inch broad jump, 7.34 seconds 3-cone drill, 4.65 seconds short shuttle, 25 bench press reps
STATS: In his four years at Wisconsin, Benton racked up 19 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 81 tackles, setting career highs in all categories this season.
VALUE: The Steelers draft room got equal value here on Benton, who was expected to go sometime in the middle to late second round.
EVALUATION: Benton has plenty of room to grow as a pass rusher and does not fully have the repertoire to be an advanced one, but has all the tools to be a great pass rusher. Still, with his athleticism and run-stopping ability, he is already a three-down player. With inconsistent pad level and some questionable recognition skills, he will have a learning curve despite truly being a three-down, experienced player. – Nick Farabaugh
PLAYER QUOTE: “I think I can play anywhere from the 3-technique to a nose tackle. I’ve done all of that at Wisconsin and I think I can do that here.”
COACH QUOTE: “He’s a big body but he’s not a two-down guy. So, he’ll have some chance to be a guy that can play on third-down and do some things in terms of penetrating and rushing and all those things.” – Teryl Austin
ROUND 3, PICK 93
MEASURABLES (at NFL COMBINE): 6-foot-6, 264 pounds, 83 3/8-inch wingspan, 34 3/8-inch arms, 4.64 40-yard dash, 31-inch vertical, 10-foot-2-inch broad jump, 4.08-second short shuttle, 21 bench reps
STATS: Over his three years at Georgia, Washington posted 774 yards and 3 touchdowns on 45 receptions while primarily being a blocking tight end alongside Brock Bowers.
VALUE: Washington fell down boards due to reported knee issues, but everyone had him as an early second-round player, so this is elite value for the Steelers.
EVALUATION: His blocking is elite, to the point where he can block just about anyone. Looking at Washington move defensive ends is a joy and comical, to be quite honest with you. Pittsburgh lacked that guy and this can open up so many options for Pat Freiermuth. – Nick Farabaugh
PLAYER QUOTE: “Some teams talked about some knee swelling. For me, I had no injury with my knees ever, knock on wood. I never tore anything in the knees. I had knee surgery on the right knee, but that was just cartilage that flaked up, they went in and cleaned it.”
COACH QUOTE: “You see it all over his tape, Darnell is a fantastic blocker. He’ll give us opportunities to do a lot of fun things matchup-wise.” – Matt Canada
ROUND 4, PICK 132
MEASURABLES (at NFL COMBINE): 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, 31 1/4-inch arms, 4.65 40-yard dash, 25 bench reps
STATS: In his three seasons with Wisconsin, he posted 36 tackles for loss and 21 sacks, with 11 sacks coming in 2022. He racked up 4 forced fumbles and 9 pass deflections overall.
VALUE: Herbig was thought by most, including likely the Steelers draft room, to be a late-third or early-fourth-round type of player. The Steelers landed him late in the fourth, giving this pick plus value.
EVALUATION: He is a unique player that maybe scared some teams away because of the ‘unique’ label. Early in his career, he can be a sub-rusher on third downs and obvious passing downs, but will need to develop off-ball skills to fully fit in as a three-down player. – Nick Farabaugh
PLAYER QUOTE: “This is a dream come true, to play with my brother. We talked about this since we were kids, so it’s true, I can’t believe it. He’s my best friend.’
COACH QUOTE: “Right now, he’s going to start at outside linebacker. He could bulk up, we’ll see where his skills take him.” –Denzel Martin
ROUND 7, PICK 241
MEASURABLES (at NFL COMBINE): 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, 32 3/8-inch arms, 4.47 40-yard dash, 35 1/2-inch vertical jump, 11-foot broad jump, 17 bench press reps.
STATS: In his five seasons at Purdue, Trice racked up 5 interceptions, 106 tackles, four tackles for loss, and 10 pass deflections with two of those interceptions becoming touchdowns.
VALUE: Projected by most to be a late day two or early day three pick, Trice slid due to medical concerns, meaning the Steelers got absurd value this late in the draft.
EVALUATION: I love his physicality in the run game and his willingness to be involved there. If you want to play in the AFC North and survive at cornerback, you better be able to play with physicality on the outside, and Trice checks that box off with flying colors. – Nick Farabaugh
PLAYER QUOTE: “Trust me, to the Steelers organization and Steelers fans, you won’t regret taking a chance on me.”
COACH QUOTE: “We love his length and physicality. He has fluidity and intensity that we covet at that position now and moving forward.” – Grady Brown
ROUND 7, PICK 251
MEASURABLES (AT MARYLAND PRO DAY): 6-foot-5, 309 pounds, 32 1/8-inch arms, 78 1/4-inch wingspan, 5.15 40-yard dash, 30 1/2-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-5-inch broad jump, 7.63 second 3 cone, 5.00-second short shuttle, 29 bench press reps
STATS: Between his days at Maryland, Anderson started at least one game at each position on the offensive line, with more snaps at right guard than any other spot. He notably played over 400 snaps at center in his career.
VALUE: Anderson was not mocked to be selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, so this technically has negative value, though it’s the 251st overall pick.
EVALUATION: Anderson can play all five positions along the offensive line and the Steelers bet on his athleticism, smarts, and versatility to make the roster. The Steelers draft brass emphasized his rare ability to move up and down the line.
PLAYER QUOTE: “You know, everywhere I go I have a ball in my hand, I practice snapping and playing center every day. I’m versatile, smart, and tough,”