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2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Draft Digest: Dawand Jones Top 30 Visit; Merrill Hoge Hits Scouting Trail



Steelers Draft Dawand Jones

The Steelers draft brass sets their first Top-30 visit while the group gets on the road for the start of the NFL Draft pro day circuit.

🏈: According to Ryan Fowler of the Draft Network, the Steelers are one of the teams that will host massive Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones for a top-3o visit. For Jones, that means he will come to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and work out for the Steelers. They will get to know him more in-depth. In addition to Pittsburgh, the Commanders, Eagles, Colts, Browns, Bengals, and Seahawks will all play host to the impressive offensive tackle.

The Steelers met with Jones at the Senior Bowl and at the NFL Combine. There is a clear pattern of interest developing here, and they are a yearly attendee in Columbus for Ohio State pro day as well. Jones is quickly becoming a likely candidate at 32 if he remains on the board.

🏈: In a new mock draft done by Pro Football Focus, the Steelers land Maryland CB Deonte Banks. A recent riser up boards after a dynamite NFL Combine, the Steelers draft board could have been altered by the day that Banks had in Indianapolis, and PFF believes that the Maryland product fits well with Pittsburgh.

“Banks has all the physical traits of an All-Pro cornerback. He just needs to be more consistent with his technique. They are another team that needs cornerbacks quite badly, as well, so Deonte Banks makes a lot of sense,” they wrote.

Banks is my favorite sleeper pick at 17. This mock draft even has the Steelers passing up Broderick Jones, Bryan Bresee, Jordan Addison, and others to grab Banks. I am not sure about that, but Banks is a great player who has the tape to match all of the elite measurables.

🏈: The handy eye of Alex Kozora at Steelers Depot is back at work scouring the Pro Day circuit, and with it starting, the Steelers hit the ground running. It started with Merrill Hoge, Steelers analyst and former running back, attending Texas Pro Day to check out Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. He is not an official scout, but could be an ancillary piece for the Steelers to scout some of the running backs in the class.

Meanwhile, area scout Mark Gorscak was on the scouting trail at Purdue’s Pro Day. Charlie Jones is the star there, a slot receiver, but backup quarterback Aidan O’Connell is also fascinating. Either way, the pro day circuit is popping and active, and the Steelers draft group is there.

🏈: Speaking of Purdue pro day, Charlie Jones had himself a day in the abilities. He put up a 6.84 3-cone drill and a 4.15 short shuttle, which both would have been top three at the NFL Combine. Defensive backs Cory Trice and Reese Taylor shined in front of scouts as well. According to Tony Pauline, Trice ran a 4.47 40-yard dash while posting a 3.96 short shuttle with it. Meanwhile, Taylor ran a 4.45 40-yard dash and jumped 38.5 inches in the vertical jump.

🏈: Star cornerback Devon Witherspoon out of Illinois will not participate in the pro day for the Fighting Illini today after suffering a hamstring injury in NFL Combine training. That leaves Witherspoon with his own personal workout date on the 6th of April, where teams will get to see the star workout and test on his own. However, until then, they will go without those numbers.

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