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2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Draft Digest: Devon Witherspoon Opts Out of Senior Bowl

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Steelers draft Illinois Devon Witherspoon

Devon Witherspoon will not be heading to Mobile while the Steelers draft targets take a new turn toward a new defensive back.

🏈: The Senior Bowl revealed their defensive back rosters on Tuesday, but notably absent from the list was standout Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon. As someone who has been mocked to the Steelers in mock drafts, Witherspoon could have been someone that Pittsburgh watched closely throughout the week. Instead, they will not see him. Alabama defensive back Jordan Battle and Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown both will not participate either.

🏈: However, Steelers secondary coach Grady Brown will be the defensive coordinator for the National squad, and these are a few of the defensive backs that he will see up close and personal with Pittsburgh having a need at cornerback. The national team defensive backs are:

Jakorian Bennett, Maryland

Mekhi Blackmon, USC

Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford

Jartavius Martin, Illinois

Riley Moss, Iowa

Sydney Brown, Illinois

Ronnie Hickman, Ohio State

Kaevon Merriweather, Iowa

Daniel Scott, Cal

JL Skinner III, Boise State

🏈: In a new mock draft conducted by Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports, the Steelers look to the secondary. In this, the Steelers draft Alabama defensive back Brian Branch. A versatile player, Branch was asked to do everything from traditional cornerback to edge rushing.

“Branch isn’t the first name you hear about when the conversation turns to Alabama’s defense, but maybe he should be,” Wilson said. “He’s a sure tackler, can blitz off the edge, and is solid in coverage, and if Nick Saban trusts him, that’s all you need to know about his NFL prospects.”

Branch is a new name that Steelers fans likely have not heard about much. He is more of a safety hybrid that could be in play if Terrell Edmunds goes elsewhere. However, he is an athletic freak that can do much of what any team will ask him to do, so that makes him intriguing.

🏈: Nick Korte of Over the Cap did his final compensatory picks projections, and he does not expect the Steelers to land any compensatory picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. That would not be surprising given how active the Steelers were in free agency. However, they are still slated to carry four Top-100 picks heading into the draft.

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