Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL Draft class: Omar Khan finds value everywhere

Steelers, Darnell Washington
Steelers, Darnell Washington / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages

With new heads in the front office, most of us didn't know what to expect from GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl in their first offseason running the Pittsburgh Steelers. After an active 2023 free agency period, Khan was busy with Mike Tomlin on the Pro Day scouting trail, while Weidl worked on assembling the draft board.

After a long wait, the 2023 NFL Draft is now in the books, and the Steelers are receiving as much praise as any team from the national media. Pittsburgh found value all over the place and landed some names that many didn't believe would be on the board when they were picking.

Steelers 2023 draft class:

This was an NFL Draft that kept us on the edge of our seats, and we somehow grew more confident in Omar Khan with each passing selection he made. Now that the draft is over, here's a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 draft class:

  • 1st round (14 overall trade-up) - Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
  • 2nd round (32 overall) - Joey Porter Jr. CB, Penn State
  • 2nd round (49th overall) - Keeanu Benton, DT, Wisconsin
  • 3rd round (93 overall) - TE Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia
  • 4th round (132 overall) - Nick Herbig, OLB, Wisconsin
  • 7th round (241 overall) - Cory Trice, CB, Purdue
  • 7th round (251 overall) - Spencer Anderson, OL, Maryland

Every team loves seems to love their selections immediately after the draft concludes, but this year simply feels different. In the past, the Pittsburgh Steelers have often reached in order to fill a position of need. This time around, they found outstanding value picks throughout the draft.

According to NFL Mock Draft Database, the Broderick Jones and Keeanu Benton selections were close to on value, but the Steelers had some of the steals in the draft with Joey Porter Jr., Darnell Washington, and Cory Trice.

Early expectations for Steelers rookie class

Despite the haul Pittsburgh was able to get in the 2023 NFL Draft, it's important to temper expectations of what we might see during the upcoming season.

As the 14th overall pick, I do expect Broderick Jones to slide in at left tackle and replace Dan Moore Jr. from day one (with his lack of experience and all). Jones could struggle at times due to his lack of refined technique, but this should be an improvement on the left side.

Joey Porter Jr. will likely compete for snaps right away with Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace. If he can win the job out of training camp, he will be the starting cornerback lined up opposite Patrick Peterson. Meanwhile, Keeanu Benton will likely serve in a rotation along the defensive line as a rookie. He has the flexibility to move around a bit, but it sounds like the plan is to play him at nose tackle.

Assuming the reported knee issue doesn't linger, Darnell Washington will slide in as the team's 'Y' tight end -- replacing Zach Gentry's role on offense. Washington may see limited usage as a rookie, but he's only begun to scratch the surface of his upside.

Cory Trice will offer depth in the defensive backfield and the team could view him as either a cornerback or safety, while Spencer Anderson will be looking to crack the roster as a reserve offensive lineman.

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Time will tell if this strong draft on paper will produce the results on the field we all hope for, but for now, Pittsburgh Steelers fans should be encouraged by what we witnessed from their front office during the 2023 NFL Draft.