These 5 NFL combine participants would be perfect fits for the Steelers
With the 2023 NFL Combine in the books, it's now time for the administration of the Pittsburgh Steelers to refine their draft board, attend campus pro days, and deal with free agency as the NFL Draft approaches in late April.
It's clear that the Steelers need help at a variety of positions, and with five selections in the top 120 there's room to address these needs with an impact player. But whom the Steelers select, and when, will depend a lot on what happens over the next seven to eight weeks.
Until then, here are five NFL combine participants (in no particular order) who would be ideal choices for the Steelers if available, and how their selection would impact the team. If just one of these prospects lands in Pittsburgh on draft night, the Steelers will improve in 2023.
5) DB Brian Branch, Alabama
While many fans are hopeful for a family reunion with the Steelers selecting Penn State CB Joey Porter, Jr., it would be hard for Mike Tomlin to pass on Brian Branch if he's available with the 17th pick of the first round.
Branch (6-0, 190) said in combine interviews that he patterns his game after former Steeler Troy Polamalu, but he's often compared to fellow Alabama alum Minkah Fitzpatrick (6-0, 204 as a rookie) due to their similar size and versatility.
Branch ran a 4.58 40-yard dash with a 1.56 10-yard split at the combine, while Fitzpatrick posted a 4.46 and 1.53 respectively. Branch had a 34.5" vertical jump and 10'5" broad jump, while Fitzpatrick's numbers were 33.0" and 10'1" respectively.
Also like Fitzpatrick, Branch played slot corner and safety for the Crimson Tide. He would be a day-one starter in the Steelers' secondary, most likely at slot corner if SS Terrell Edmunds re-signs with Pittsburgh.