All told, the 2023 NFL Draft was a banner one for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Omar Khan, who just wrapped up his first draft as the team's general manager. The Steelers essentially checked off all of their pre-draft boxes while acquiring players who should add value to a team that surprised many by going 9-8 last season.
Khan made a splash during the first round. For the first time since 2019, the Steelers traded up in the first round. They gave the Patriots the 17th and 120th picks in exchange for the 14th overall pick. , Pittsburgh selected former Georgia standout offensive tackle Broderick Jones. Jones provides much-needed depth behind starters Dan Moore Jr. and Chukwuma Okorafor.
Pittsburgh didn't overthink the first pick in the second round, selecting Penn State's Joey Porter Jr. with the 32nd overall pick. The Steelers addressed another big need by selecting former Wisconsin interior defensive lineman Keenau Benton with the 49th pick.
The Steelers traded the 80th overall pick to the Panthers in exchange for the 93rd and 132nd overall picks. With the 93rd pick, Pittsburgh drafted former Georgia tight end Darnell Washington, a massive player who will undoubtedly help open things up for Najee Harris and the rest of the Steelers running backs. The Steelers added another brotherly duo to their roster by drafting Wisconsin pass rusher Nick Herbig in the fourth round. Herbig is the younger brother of Steelers offensive lineman Nate Herbig.
Pittsburgh added secondary and offensive line depth with their two seventh-round picks. They drafted former Purdue cornerback Cory Trice Jr. with the 241st overall pick and former Maryland center/guard Spencer Anderson with the 251st overall pick.
Below is a rundown of every pick the Steelers will make during the 2023 NFL Draft.
14. OT Broderick Jones (Georgia)
32. CB Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State)
49. IDL Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin)
93. TE Darnell Washington (Georgia)
|4||132. OLB Nick Herbig (Wisconsin)|
241. CB Cory Trice Jr. (Purdue)
251. OG Spencer Anderson (Maryland)
Jones is the first offensive lineman the Steelers have taken in the first round since selecting guard David DeCastro back in 2012. In Jones, the Steelers are getting a 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive tackle who helped the Bulldogs win the last two national titles. An Associated Press All-SEC First-Team selection last year, Jones started in each of Georgia's 15 games. His impressive athleticism and prowess as a finisher were two of the main things that stood out during Jones' time at Georgia.
With only 19 college starts, Jones' inexperience was one of the few knocks on his resume. In Pittsburgh, Jones will get the luxury of playing behind Moore and Okorafor while he gets acclimated to the pro game.
Porter has made no secret what playing for his dad's team would mean to him. He would also relish the chance to play alongside Peterson, who played with Joey Sr. during his final NFL season as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. Drafting Porter would possibly allow the Steelers to move Patrick Peterson to free safety while moving Minkah Fitzpatrick to strong safety.
Benton is an ideal fit on the Steelers' defensive line alongside veterans Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi. Benton was a solid run-stuffer as well as a formidable pass-rusher at Wisconsin. He had 4.5 sacks, 36 tackles and 10 tackles for loss during his final season in Madison. Benton's college teammate, Herbig, collected 20 sacks, four forced fumbles and 30 tackles for loss during his last two seasons in Madison.
A big cornerback (he's 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds), Trice is a physical player who knows how to use the sideline as an extra defender. Trice, who had two pick-sixes during his time with the Boilermakers, also isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in run support. There's a thought that Trice could move over to safety at the next level.
During his final season at Maryland, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Anderson started 12 games at right guard and one game at right tackle. He started nine games at right tackle and four games at center during the 2021 season. That season, Anderson received the 13th highest pass blocking grade among all Power Five players at the highest among Big Ten players.
Pittsburgh is hoping that each of these picks can add to the franchise's current run of 19 consecutive non-losing seasons. Furthermore, the Steelers are trying to make a serious run at winning the franchise's first title since 2008. Pittsburgh's 2023 projected win total is currently set at 9.5 games, according to Caesars Sportsbook. That's two full games higher than last year's projected total.