The Steelers we’re most in love with right now (and why)

Valentine’s Day, once again, conveniently falls right after the Super Bowl, and we thought it would be a good time to revisit one of our favorite annual collaborations: our favorite Steelers!

Here are our SCU contributor picks of current crushes – including players who’ve crushed it on the field – for this year’s virtual Valentine’s cards.

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Mason Rudolph

Since he’s fresh in our minds, and technically still a Steelers until free agency begins next month, Mason Rudolph is an easy pick to “love”.

We’re especially happy that the former third round pick went from getting jeers earlier in his career, to cheers within the last couple of months as the Steelers season savior, leading them into the playoffs. No matter what the future holds for Rudolph, he left us some great memories to close out the 2023 season.

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Joey Porter, Jr

A decent portion of the Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase follows the Penn State Nittany Lions. That same fanbase was over the moon when the Steelers selected one of their own with the 32nd overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

It was also a cherry on top that his namesake, the elder Joey Porter, was a Steelers legend.

Like his father, Joey Jr. has that “dog” in him. His swagger led to being named to the all-rookie first team and rising to be one of the top corners in the league overnight. He also wears number 24 to honor his “Uncle Ike (Taylor)”. What’s not to love about Joey Porter Jr.?

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Keeanu Benton

Several rookies made this list and with good reason. Some fans begged for an offensive tackle or a cornerback, but it was our staff that was begging for Benton. With three top 50 picks in last year’s draft, the Steelers already had the first two positions mentioned checked off of their wish list. Not it was time for another individual to fall right into the Steelers grasp, as the Wisconsin product was selected with the 49th overall choice.

Not too many players elicit a genuine reaction from Mike Tomlin during press conferences, but when Benton’s name was brought up, the head coach was nothing but smiles:

It’s interesting, I just had an exit interview with him. I’m really excited about the prospects of his future. He’s really talented. I think he’s capable of being dominant sooner rather than later. And so, the question is how quickly can we make that happen and what are our roles in doing so. And so, we just had a real good conversation about what that looks like foundationally and how do we build.

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Cameron Heyward

The consummate professional, Heyward continues to inspire teammates and fans alike.

The newest Walter Payton Man of the Year epitomized the word “leadership” throughout the 2023 NFL regular season and post-season.

The three-time All Pro once again anchored the Steelers’ defensive line in his 13th NFL season and proved invaluable in setting the tone despite adversity the team faced, including coming back from injury himself. Whether from the sidelines or on the field, Heyward has that old-school grit that makes him an endeared member of the organization.

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Jaylen Warren

As part of a duo out of Pittsburgh’s offensive backfield with fellow running back Najee Harris, Warren was the perfect alternative in style.

Warren had a breakout season that filled highlight reels with his never-quit attitude when the ball was in his hands. His angry style of bruising play gave the Steelers opportunities to punish defenses that didn’t focus on his athleticism and drive. His ability to gain yards after a catch was as exciting as the plays where he broke tackles in the run game.

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Broderick Jones

As a rookie at just 22 years of age, Jones stepped into the role as the Steelers’ right tackle and gave fans an idea of what a rebuilt offensive line might look like moving forward for years.

In just 17 regular season games, Jones was able to limit his penalties while giving the Pittsburgh offense improved run blocking while also providing solid pass protection to three different quarterbacks.

Jones proved flexible in being lined up to the right and that bodes well for his future career in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have been looking for versatile personnel to improve their offensive production, and Jones fits the bill.

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Honorable Mention: T.J. Watt

Sorry T.J., you are probably so well-loved that you didn’t get a mention in the regular spot. But don’t worry, we know you’re used to it (when it comes to other awards!)

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