Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt is the third-fastest player to 75 career sacks and the Steelers fell only one spot in the 2023 NFL Draft after their win this week.
🏈 In his 84th career game, T.J. Watt become the third-fastest player to reach 75.0 career sacks. Only Hall of Famer Reggie White (65) and his older brother J.J. Watt (82) have accomplished the feat in fewer games since 1982 when sacks were first officially tracked.
🏈 With the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception coming up on Friday, the official NFL Twitter account shared a quote from Franco Harris on the famous play. “No doubt, 1972 sparked that whole feeling of winning , of wanting to try to get to the Super Bowl,” Harris said. “I don’t think as a whole we had this confidence that we were the greatest thing out there yet. … We found a way to win, that changed everything.”
🏈 If the season ended today, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have the the 14th, 33rd and 44th overall picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. The 33rd overall pick comes via the Chase Claypool trade with the Chicago Bears. Chicago has gone 0-6 since the trade.
🏈 Diontae Johnson is 30 catches shy of his 2021 total (107) with three games remaining. He still doesn’t have a touchdown reception, however. He’s the only receiver in the league with at least 53 catches who doesn’t have a touchdown.
🏈 The Steelers third down conversation rate (54.8%) ranks second in the NFL since their bye in Week 9. Only the Dallas Cowboys (55.2%) have been better during that span.
🏈 Die-hard Steelers fan Snoop Dogg tweeted “we ain’t done yet” following the team’s 24-16 win over the Carolina Panthers. While the chances are slim, the Steelers remain in the playoff hunt.
🏈 Troy Polamalu was spotted at the Tennessee-Arizona men’s basketball game on Saturday.
🏈 John Steigerwald shared a video of Art Rooney Sr. being interviewed by Ed Conway of WTAE the day after the Immaculate Reception.
🏈 NFL All Day is releasing an NFT to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.
🏈 Minkah Fitzpatrick continues to lead the NFL Pro Bowl voting among AFC free safeties, with 150,541 votes.
🎂 Happy Birthday to former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who turns 31 today. Bryant was drafted to play for the XFL Vegas Vipers this spring.
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STEELERS DRAFT DIGEST
🏈: The Pittsburgh Panthers Football program had a number of players declare for the 2023 NFL Draft and opt out of their Sun Bowl matchup against the UCLA Bruins. Those included running back Israel Abanikanda, defensive end Deslin Alexnadre, free safety Erick Hallett, linebacker SirVocea Dennis, and tackle Gabe Houy. Hallett will play in the bowl, but most of the prospects are late-round prospects. Abanikanda’s speed and productivity make him a fascinating mid-round option for teams at running back.
🏈 Star Texas running back Bijan Robinson is officially in the 2023 NFL Draft. To no one’s surprise, the All-American will head to the league after having accomplished much at Texas. Throughout his career, Robinson has racked up 3410 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns in addition to 805 receiving yards. The consensus top running back in the class, Robinson has a chance to go in the first round. For the Steelers, that could help push down talented prospects at positions of need to the Bears second-round pick.
🏈 In a new mock draft conducted by Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports, the Steelers selected cornerback Joey Porter Jr. out of Penn State. He is the son of former Steelers, Joey Porter, and is arguably the most popular pick thus far for the Steelers to land.
“Porter is the prototypical big, physical cornerback who looks like he belongs in the NFL,” Wilson wrote. “He can sometimes get a little too handsy downfield, but he checks many of the boxes of what team’s look for when drafting DBs. Oh, and his dad is a former Steelers edge rusher who played a critical role in their Super Bowl run during the ’05 season.”
Pittsburgh needs cornerbacks, and Sunday reiterated that. So, it is a pick that makes sense and with their draft slot, is likely to happen.
🏈 Troy linebacker Carlton Martial accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl on Tuesday. The standout All-Sun Belt performer helped the Trojans to a successful season, racking up 135 tackles along with an interception. But the catch? He is only 5-foot-9. The good news is that Martial can fly, but he is a fascinating chess piece that might try out a few positions to see where he works best in Mobile.
🏈 ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranked his Top 10 cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft. Coming in first was none other than Porter Jr. himself. Surprisingly, Georgia’s Kelee Ringo was down at number five while Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon, and Deonte Banks rounded out the top five. Talented Utah cornerback Clark Phillips III came in at sixth overall on Kiper’s cornerback board.
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AROUND THE NETWORK
Erick Hallett is headed to the NFL. But not until after a trip home to Texas for the Sun Bowl, bringing his Pitt career full circle.
It Looks like it won’t be a long-term absence for Jason Zucker, who is already back at practice.
Three-star 2023 RB Cameron Wallace committed to Penn State.