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2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Draft Digest: Pittsburgh Prioritizing ILB, Porter Jr. Popular Pick



Steelers Draft Drew Sanders

The Steelers draft brass seems to be intent on fixing their inside linebacker situation and Joey Porter Jr. continues to be a popular selection in mock drafts.

🏈: In a new mock draft by Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports, the Steelers selected a familiar name — Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. It seems this is the consensus pick for the Steelers for obvious reasons. Porter fits their needs, has NFL bloodlines (and a Steelers bloodline at that), and is the exact type of cornerback they like with his length and aggressiveness.

“Another Joey Porter in Pittsburgh,” Trapasso wrote. “This one is a lanky, twitched-up perimeter corner who plays the ball well in the air.”

I do have my questions on if it happens. But all of those questions will be answered in Indianapolis when Porter runs his 40-yard dash. The Steelers will certainly talk with him over the process and there will be plenty of linkages of interest to Porter. However, will he end up in Black and Gold? I think it’s a little less likely than most think.

🏈: The buzz around Florida QB Anthony Richardson continues to be palpable, so it makes even more of a difference that the latest reports state he could go as high as 9th overall. Just how significant could that be for the Steelers? Well, they should be rooting for as many of the top quarterbacks, including Richardson to go before 17 to allow them a better chance at one of the cornerbacks, defensive linemen, and offensive linemen in the class. If Richardson does end up going that high, it could have that landslide effect.

🏈: Jeremy Fowler of ESPN believes that the Steelers are ‘headed on the right track’ with their rebuild, but shouted out one specific position that he believes the Steelers will address in the draft. That position would be inside linebacker, where Robert Spillane and Devin Bush are both free agents with Myles Jack looming as a cap decision. So, Fowler believes that there will be ‘draft movement’ from the team in that direction. That could mean they address it extremely early in the draft or they could wait a bit. Regardless, Pittsburgh has to target inside linebacker hard this offseason to give themselves some clarity about the position.

🏈: NFL Draft Bible released their interior defensive linemen ratings, and there are some interesting ratings in this one. For one, of the ‘second group’ that could be there on day two, Keeanu Benton ranks as the top in that group, right below Siaki Ika. They placed a second-round evaluation on Benton. In addition, Mazi Smith, Calijah Kancey, and Zacch Pickens followed in those rankings. There were nine linemen with day two or better grades, giving the Steelers a number of options to make in this class if they want to do that.

🏈: Todd McShay mocked the Steelers Christian Gonzalez, another top cornerback, but this time, out of Oregon. That comes as a little surprising given the location of where the Steelers usually try and draft from, however, Gonzalez was up there as the best player available with most of the top offensive linemen gone. Could he land with the Steelers? It is possible, and he certainly will land with all the measurements that they will love to have in their cornerbacks.