7 Terrell Edmunds replacement options for Steelers in the 2023 NFL Draft

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5. Sydney Brown, 5’9”, 211, Illinois

Sydney Brown is one of the hotter names in this year’s safety class. Brown is another fifth-year player that took a major leap this past season. According to PFF, he earned the third-highest Coverage grade (89.4) among safeties who played at least 20% of their defense’s snaps.

Brown was a team captain in 2022, earning All-American and All-Big Ten honors. His brother, Chase, was a running back for the Illini and is also a prospect in this draft class. Their father played in the CFL, and their mother is a figure skater, so Brown checks the box for having an athletic family. 

Brown’s primary attraction for the Steelers is his turnover production. He led the Big Ten and finished third nationally in interceptions with six, along with breaking up six additional passes. He also earned the second-highest Relative Athletic Score of any safety in this class at 9.66. Brown is an aggressive player who plays very fast, but this can occasionally get him in trouble with making tackles in the open field. He’s also not the biggest, so bigger backs can occasionally slough him off.

Despite Illinois featuring several prospects, especially in the secondary, that the Steelers could be interested in, only area scout Mark Gorscak was in attendance at their pro day on March 10th, per Steelers Depot. Given the number of reasons why the Steelers should be interested, it seems odd that they haven’t been more involved with Brown. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, Brown is seemingly a hot commodity in this class and could be over-drafted, at some point between the Steelers’ third- and fourth-round picks.