5 players Steelers must target in Round 2 after selecting Broderick Jones

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The Pittsburgh Steelers found their left tackle of the future, trading up to acquire OT Broderick Jones from Georgia. Jones figures to be the Steelers' long-term answer at left tackle. But who will the Steelers target on Day 2? They have three selections (#32, #49, #80) and have plenty of needs to fill.

CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

I simply cannot believe Joey Porter Jr. is still on the board at the top of the second round. The board could not have fallen better for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They had to trade up to get their tackle, but did not have to surrender much capital. Now, a player many expected them to take at #17 overall is on the board for them at 32. Porter Jr. would give the Steelers a CB1 of the future who can come in right away and be an impactful starter.

Omar Khan has the opportunity to resolve the Steelers' two biggest needs with his first two picks. He and Mike Tomlin discussed trading down from this pick. Given the fact that they only have two Day 3 picks, both in the seventh round, they were probably looking forward to trading down and getting some more late picks. But with a player they need and love on the board, it's hard to imagine them passing that up.

TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

Even though the Steelers have to be interested in Porter Jr., Michael Mayer is also an extremely interesting proposition. Even though Pat Freiermuth is a very solid starter and has chemistry with Kenny Pickett, he is often put in a tough position by the offense. Freiermuth's best skills come in the receiving game, not as a blocker and especially not as an in-line "Y" tight end who has to set the edge.

Enter Michael Mayer. Mayer is about the same size as Freiermuth in terms of height and weight, but he appears much thicker and more solid than Freiermuth. He's also a much better blocker on tape, both in-line and on the move/in space. But Mayer is no slouch as a receiver either. He was the #1 receiving option for Notre Dame for the last few seasons.

Mayer and Freiermuth would give offensive coordinator Matt Canada a dynamic duo of tight ends that would make running the ball much easier. They would also allow Pickett and Canada to attack the middle of the field much more, both underneath and vertically. Pairing Mayer with Broderick Jones from the first round would certainly signal to the rest of the league that they are not messing around when it comes to being physical on offense.

DB Brian Branch, Alabama

If the Steelers don't go Porter and they want to focus on finding a new slot defender, there's no better player on the board than Brian Branch. Despite his relatively diminutive size (5'11", 190), Branch has some of the best tape of any defender in this class; he's also an elite tackler. He can line up all over the defensive backfield and serve the same role that Cam Sutton played over the last few seasons. After all, he was the heir to the "Star" position once filled by Minkah Fitzpatrick at Alabama.

TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

Take the analysis for Mayer and copy/paste it for Darnell Washington. A massive target with elite athleticism, Washington also already has chemistry lining up next to Broderick Jones from their time at Georgia. He has a lot of room to grow as a receiver but has the athletic ability and hands to do so. Washington would essentially give the Steelers a sixth offensive lineman who can be an elite contested catch threat over the middle of the field and in the red zone.

DT Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin

This is more of a target for the Steelers' second second-round pick at #49 overall. But given the hype around Benton and the lack of other impactful interior defensive linemen, maybe they take Benton at 32. It would be a bit of a reach, so perhaps they trade back a little in the second round. Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan repeatedly discussed how they would be listening to trade offers for this pick.

While Keeanu Benton would be the Steelers' new nose tackle, he's not a run-stuffing space-eater like Casey Hampton or Steve McClendon. While he is a solid run defender and can control the A-gaps, his athleticism allows him to be a disruptive presence in pass-rush situations. He would also be able to learn from veterans Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi, eventually becoming the Steelers' primary interior defender.

Next. Did Steelers make right move trading up for Broderick Jones?. dark