Steelers' stunning draft class robbed of representatives on PFF's All-Rookie Team

The Steelers had a trio of rookies deserving of recognition, but none of them were mentioned on PFF's All-Rookie Team list.

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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It was hard to watch any given game of the Pittsburgh Steelers from the 2023 season and not be impressed with their stellar rookie class. Since they first made their selections back in April, fans and draft analysts raved about Omar Khan's impressive haul, and we had high hopes.

Pittsburgh's rookies didn't disappoint. Though it took some time for early picks like OT Broderick Jones and CB Joey Porter Jr. to see the field, they proved to be instant improvements over their veteran counterparts on the roster.

It's thanks in large part to the performance this team received from its rookie draft class that they have found a way to bounce back and earn a playoff berth this year. Although frequently penalized, Porter was a player who could travel with a team's best receiver, while Jones and DT Keeanu Benton proved to be the beef Pittsburgh was missing in the trenches.

Despite the dominant play of the Steelers' 2023 draft class at times, it wasn't enough to grab the attention of Pro Football Focus. Recently, PFF released their 2023 All-Rookie Team, and not a single Pittsburgh Steelers player made the cut.

Steelers deserve heavy representation on All-Rookie Team

I can't say that I agree with this. On the offensive side of the ball, Browns OT Dawand Jones and Chiefs OT Wanya Morris were the two offensive tackles who made PFF's All-Rookie Team over Broderick Jones. This is despite the fact that Jones had more starts, reps, and games played than either OT who made the list.

Interestingly, Broderick also graded out substantially better than Morris this year, but he still failed to be recognized for this honor. Dawand earned a higher grade than the Steelers' rookie OT, but Broderick was equally as impressive on film.

Defensively, there was a case to be made for both Porter Jr. and Benton making the list. While Seahawks rookie CB Devon Witherspoon deserved to make PFF's All-Rookie Team after a phenomenal season, Minnesota's Mekhi Blackmon probably wasn't as impressive as Porter on tape -- even with a respectable grade on the season.

Porter's PFF grade was continually dinged due to leading all defensive backs in penalties this year. However, we can live with the grabbiness if it means that Porter is routinely locking down the opposing team's best receiver -- something he did often during his rookie season.

Benton also deserved props for his stand-out rookie campaign. Jalen Carter was obviously making the All-Rookie Team after a monstrous year, and Rams' Kobie Turner was excellent as well. Because of Benton's part-time role, PFF couldn't make a strong enough case for him to make the All-Rookie Team, but there's no doubt that, on a per-snap basis, Keeanu Benton was one of the most impressive rookies this year.

Again, this is just Pro Football Focus' 2023 All-Rookie Team; it's not an official award. If the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2023 draft class comes across this article, perhaps they could use their snub from this list as fuel for 2024 and beyond.

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