Home Steelers DraftDraft Analysis Steelers Select Porter, Benton, and Washington on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Select Porter, Benton, and Washington on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft

Breaking down the Steelers 2nd and 3rd round draft picks.

by Ian

After selecting Georgia OT Broderick Jones in the first round of the draft, the Steelers entered the second night with three picks. They held the first pick of the night thanks to the Chase Claypool trade with the Bears last year. There was a lot of buzz about the Steelers potentially trading down from 32 to recoup the 4th round pick they used trade up for Jones. Ultimately, the Steelers held on to the 32nd overall pick and selected Joey Porter Jr. Later in the second round they took Senior Bowl star NT Keeanu Benton. They did trade down in the 3rd round and still managed to land Georgia TE Darnell Washington. Here’s a look at your newest Pittsburgh Steelers.

Round 2, Pick 32 – Joey Porter Jr (CB-Penn State)

Joey Porter Jr was been tied to the Steelers throughout the draft process and for good reason. Not only is there the family history in the organization, but he also played at North Catholic High School for two years with Mike Tomlin’s sons before head coach Jason Gildon was fired and the Porters and Tomlins transferred out. JPJ is a long-armed and lanky corner who plays physical all over the field. He has a nose for the ball but can get into trouble when he starts grabbing with his hands. His physicality is a two-way street in his willingness to hit after the ball is delivered but he also will get flagged for being over-aggressive before the ball arrives. He had 11 coverage penalties in the last two seasons. Porter projects best as a press man corner who can bump at the release point. Assistant GM Andy Weidl and defensive backs coach Grady Brown attended Porter’s Pro Day and he was a pre-draft visitor to Pittsburgh.

The Purdue game was Porter’s signature performance of his collegiate career. He matched up against Purdue’s star receiver Charlie Jones the entire game and used his size and physicality to hound Jones the whole game. Porter can use his size and length to keep up with receivers down the field but struggled a little on in-breaking routes. With his length, improved vision and instincts will allow him to jump those routes and get his arms in to break up the ball.

Round 2, Pick 49 – Keeanu Benton (DT-Wisconsin)

Benton’s name shot up draft boards after a dominant performance at the Senior Bowl. He also came to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit. Benton is more of a true interior nose tackle than a penetrator, but his hand work and play strength can not be doubted. He physically manhandled everyone he faced in Senior Bowl practices. Benton’s lower-body power gave him the ability to push the pocket back into the lap of the quarterback and he did put up impressive numbers for a defensive lineman (10 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) in his senior season. The Steelers needed depth at the interior of the defensive line, and a true two-gapping nose tackle would be an excellent addition to the group. Benton’s hands give him the ability to get penetration into the backfield and if the Senior Bowl was any indication, he could be a gigantic problem for centers in the NFL.

Round 3, Pick 80 – Trade!

Despite not pulling the trigger on a trade at the top of the second round, the Steelers did pull off a trade with the Carolina Panthers in the third round. They moved down 13 spots from 80 to 93 and got back a 4th round pick in the process. The pick they gave up to New England in the Broderick Jones deal was #120 so in the end the Steelers moved down 13 spots in the 3rd round and 12 spots in the 4th round in order to land Jones. Not too shabby.

Round 3, Pick 93 – Darnell Washington (TE-Georgia)

While Tight End may not have been the Steelers biggest need, it was a position called out by Mike Tomlin in the pre-draft press conference as having impressive depth. Washington is an absolute wrecking ball on the field. He has incredible footwork for a man his size (6’6″ 264 lbs). Incredibly, Washington is taller, has a bigger wingspan, and bigger hands than first round pick Broderick Jones. His 34″ arms and 11″ hands allow him to win jump balls over smaller defensive backs and snatch balls out of the air. Washington is one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft and has the speed to get down the field and make catches in the seam. He blocks with the nastiness of an offensive tackle and is a force in the red zone. With the ball in his hands, he is almost impossible for a single defender to bring down one-on-one.

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