Steelers' spectacular Day 2 picks rival impressive 2023 draft haul

If you thought the Steelers stole the draft in 2023, wait until you see the heist they pulled off on Day 2 this year.
Oct 14, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack linebacker Payton Wilson
Oct 14, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack linebacker Payton Wilson / Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know a soul out there who will be disappointed with the heist the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to pull off in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Finding value in Round 1 with Washington OT Troy Fautanu was just the beginning, and the energy was about to go through the roof.

There's a reason I always tell everyone that Day 2 is the most exciting day of the NFL Draft. Teams get multiple selections and picks become wildly unpredictable. While some teams reached for need on the consensus board, the Steelers happily selected the top available players when they were on the clock in the second and third rounds.

The picture-perfect Day 2 began in the middle of the second round. When Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson flew off the board with the 44th overall pick early in Round 2, Steelers fans started sounding the alarm. However, the patience of Omar Khan and Andy Weidl paid off.

As history would suggest, we rarely see three centers taken inside the top 50 picks. That proved to be true once again. The Steelers stood pat and were able to snatch West Virginia center, Zach Frazier.

What Pittsburgh did next with their two selections in Round 3 had me on my feet.

Talented players were getting snatched up on Day 2 long before Pittsburgh's 84th overall pick in Round 3, and a run on wide receivers early in the draft left the position dry. Fortunately, Michigan's Roman Wilson somehow went unnoticed and was ripe for the picking in the middle of the third round.

It couldn't get better than this... right?

In the compensatory third round (with the pick acquired from the Eagles in the Kenny Pickett trade) the Steelers took arguably the most talented player on the board: Payton Wilson. The NC State linebacker is coming off a tremendous 2023 season in which he graded out as one of the best overall players in the country, per PFF.

Wilson slipped in the draft due to concerning medical issues (knee and hip), but Daniel Jeremiah called him a 'first-round player', and NFL Draft media would agree that the value was fantastic at this point in the draft.

Steelers Day 2 talent on par with outstanding Day 2 picks in 2023

I didn't think there was any way the Pittsburgh Steelers would be able to rival the talent they scooped up on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. In Omar Khan's first draft as the GM, he landed outstanding value with players like CB Joey Porter Jr., DL Keeanu Benton, and TE Darnell Washington. But doing so required the help of the 32nd overall pick to go with their original second and third-round selections.

Somehow, the draft haul the Steelers earned on Day 2 this year might be just as good.

All three players (Zach Frazier, Roman Wilson, and Payton Wilson) were tremendous value picks according to the consensus board from NFL Mock Draft Database. The consensus rankings had Frazier as the 39th-best player, Roman Wilson at 51st, and Payton Wilson at 46th overall.

We don't want to overreact. Obviously, we need to see if these guys will live up to expectations on the football field. But every Steelers fan should be thrilled with the phenomenal draft haul they earned on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.