STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The Steelers draft plan is coming into action and they sent a house of personnel out of State College for Penn State’s pro day, and it included a defensive back-heavy focus with guys like Teryl Austin and Grady Brown on the scene.
On Friday, that took another leap. With assistant general manager Andy Weidl on hand as well, it would be easy to draw conclusions. Now, as someone on the scene, it’s even easier to draw conclusions about how interested the Steelers are in these players. Austin and Weidl had a lengthy, 30-minute conversation with Brown and his agent. They met with him formally at the NFL Combine.
Porter Jr. and Brown then we’re talking to Austin together for a lengthy amount of time. While other drills went on, the Steelers kept to the side, talking it over with Porter and Brown. Porter’s uncles seemed to be mindful of the Steelers’ interest in their nephew. It’s not some type of family secret that the Steelers could want Porter Jr. at 17 if he falls there. The weather isn’t California, but it might just feel like home for the Porters already anyways.
Of course, the Steelers’ draft plan often lacks subtlety. This is another one of those moments. For Brown, the interest became clearer the moment that Terrell Edmunds walked to join the Eagles. Even without Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan with their boots on the ground, it is hard for the team to hide their interest when the conversations carry out over entire positional drills and sometimes up to 30 minutes.
I caught up with some of Brown’s family, too, who noticed the affinity that the Steelers paid towards the versatile strong safety. With some of those interest loops underneath the Steelers already, Tomlin could be out in Arizona and that is a legitimate reason for him not being in State College on Friday. Make no mistake, the Steelers’ draft cycle has been one that is up and down, but it is clear that Pittsburgh has a severe amount of interest in the two Nittany Lions’ defensive backs, and they are not too keen on hiding it.