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Grading the Steelers’ 2023 NFL Draft

We discuss the 2023 NFL Draft results for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. during the NFL Draft Red Carpet event on April 27, 2023 at Union Station in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a 9-8 record last season and narrowly missed out on the playoffs. The Steelers will head into Year 2 of the Kenny Pickett era, looking for a way to finish better than third in a tough division. Here’s a look at Pittsburgh’s selections and how they could make an impact for the team in 2023.

Pittsburgh picks

Round 1: No. 14 (from Patriots): Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Round 2: No. 32 (from Bears): Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
Round 2: No. 49: Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
Round 3: No. 93 — Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
Round 4: No. 132 (from 49ers through Panthers) — Nick Herbig, OLB, Wisconsin
Round 7: No. 241 (from Vikings through Broncos)— Cory Trice, CB, Purdue
Round 7: No. 251 (From Rams) — Spencer Anderson, OG, Maryland

Grade: A

Did Steelers fill needs?

Absolutely. Pittsburgh went into this draft not needing a quarterback, running back or wide receiver at the top, so they didn’t get to make a flashy pick. Instead, they traded up to grab an offensive tackle that will help anchor the line and protect Pickett and open up lanes for running back Najee Harris. Then, Steelers legacy Joey Porter Jr. fell into their laps at No. 32, and he should be a Week 1 starter.

Benton provides depth on the interior of the defensive line, and a healthy Washington is a steal that late in the third round. Pittsburgh kept it in the family, adding one Herbig to the one already rostered and picked up more cornerback and offensive line depth to end the draft. The only lingering team needs after the draft is inside linebacker and wide receiver, which can be addressed in free agency.

Fantasy prospects?

Unfortunately, with no offensive skill position players drafted other than Washington, there isn’t a lot of direct fantasy value added. Washington is solid, but likely won’t be overtaking Pat Freiermuth as the starting tight end, so he doesn’t retain any fantasy value for now.

Hopefully, the addition of Jones in the first round helps keep Pickett upright and leads to a more productive season for Harris. All eyes are going to be on offensive coordinator Matt Canada to right the offensive ship this season.

Best pick?

With a draft this all-around solid,Pittsburgh didn’t really make a bad pick. As for the best, it is likely going to be the move to get Jones that helps the most. Porter Jr. should be able to develop into a shutdown corner, but the Steelers always seem to have a good defense. What they have lacked in recent years is an offense that can stay on the field, and Jones is hopefully a marquee addition to helping that happen.