What every expert had to say about the Steelers 2023 draft

Steelers, Joey Porter Jr.
Steelers, Joey Porter Jr. / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

For Pittsburgh, this was the first April without Kevin Colbert calling the shots in two decades and Steelers fans had a right to be nervous about what would ensue. However, Omar Khan quickly put those worries to rest.

In his first NFL Draft as general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Khan managed to find tremendous value all over the board at nearly every selection. While most fans come away pleased with the initial results of their draft, this one just felt different.

Pittsburgh landed two first-round graded players with back-to-back picks in OT Broderick Jones and CB Joey Porter Jr. They then turned around and snagged DT Keeanu Benton and TE Keeanu Benton to close out Day 2 before somehow landing OLB Nick Herbig and CB Cory Trice on Day 3.

The experts were quick to take notice. Immediately following the draft, experts were quick to praise Pittsburgh for their 2023 draft class. Here's a look at the draft grades some of the top experts handed to the Steelers this year:

Expert grades for the Steelers 2023 draft:

ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr. (subscription required): B+

Compared to most initial reactions, Mel Kiper Jr. is on the lower end here -- giving the Steelers just a 'B+' for their 2023 draft haul. Kiper notes how strong the first two days of the draft were for Pittsburgh, and he loved the Darnell Washington and Joey Porter Jr. picks. However, he cited a 'light Day 3' was what keeps this class from being an 'A'. Let's agree to disagree.

CBS Sports, Pete Prisco: B+

Pete Prisco was harder than most when it came to his 2023 draft grades. The CBS Sports analysts only handed out three 'A' grades. Surprisingly, two of them went to the Cowboys and Lions, which leaves me wondering what he was thinking. For the Steelers, however, Prisco gave Omar Khan's team a 'B+'. Prisco labeled Nick Herbig as the team's best pick. Interestingly, Darnell Washington was listed as the worst pick the team made this year.

NFL.com, Chad Reuter: A

Now we're making some sense. Chad Reuter of NFL.com recently handed out his 2023 draft grades and gave the Steelers an 'A' for what they were able to land this year. He called using the second-round pick acquired by the Chase Claypool trade to draft Joey Porter Jr. a 'major win'. Reuter did use the 'A' grade pretty loosely, however, with five other teams tied with Pittsburgh for the best draft grade.

The Athletic, Dane Brugler (subscription required): 7th overall

Dane Brugler of The Athletic didn't go the 'grade' route. Instead, he posted an initial ranking of all 32 draft classes from best to worst. Brugler determined that Pittsburgh had the 7th-best draft this year. In most years, I would take that, but this seems a little unfair considering the value that Pittsburgh landed with several of their picks. Brugler mentioned Darnell Washington and Cory Trice as potential steals if injuries don't plague them in the future.

Pro Football Focus, PFF Staff: A+

The staff at Pro Football Focus wasted no time in handing the Steelers a perfect 'A+' grade for their 2023 draft. PFF couldn't say enough great things about what Pittsburgh did on Day 2 -- particularly about the value they found in Joey Porter Jr. and Darnell Washington. PFF also praised the Nick Herbig selection on Day 3 -- highlighting his 91.1 pass-rush grade and spectacular 23.9 percent pass-rush win rate.

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Collectively, NFL Draft experts agree that the Pittsburgh Steelers turned their seven picks into an impressive haul this year. Let's hope that we can see the fruits of Omar Khan's first draft class early in the 2023 season.