2023 Steelers Season Recall: Second day of the 2023 NFL Draft is a slam dunk of selections

Steel City Underground presents our 2023 Steelers Recall: a look back at Pittsburgh Steelers games and storylines from last season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered day two of the 2023 NFL Draft with multiple picks. They were also set to begin the second day of the draft with the top selection of the second round, the 32nd overall pick (acquired from the Chicago Bears in a trade for Chase Claypool).

Despite claims that numerous other NFL teams made calls about that spot, Pittsburgh stood firm and went after a player they absolutely wanted. Omar Khan, Andy Weidl, Mike Tomlin, and company got aggressive throughout the remainder of the second and third rounds, adding talent on both sides of the ball.

Joey Porter Jr. was the man of the hour with pick 32 overall. The Steelers did not like the trades that were offered, apparently and grabbed the local Penn State product, and son of Steelers legendary linebacker Joey Porter Sr., instead.

A really fun fact when looking back on this day of the draft, is that after sitting in the green room and being passed over during the first day of the events in Kansas City, Porter returned home to Pittsburgh where he was already in route to the Steelers facilities while the pick was announced to the general public.

With one more pick in the the top 50, 49th overall in the second round, the Steelers stuck with defense, adding defensive lineman Keeanu Benton out of Wisconsin. As we now know, Benton would be another key contributor throughout the 2023 season. Here is what Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin had to say about Benton following his selection:

With a primary focus on defense after going big on the offensive line on day one, General Manager Omar Khan would flip back to the offensive side of the ball in the third round. With the 93rd overall selection, the Steelers would snag Georgia TE Darnell Washington.

A mountain of a man who would be later nicknamed “Mount Washington” (after a local landmark), the rookie would would see more playing time during his first season than tight ends traditionally have under Tomlin.

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The excitement of these first four picks, with Washington’s Georgia teammate Broderick Jones from day one, had fans in a frenzy over the new additions to the team. Khan swung for the fences and found a starting offensive tackle and cornerback, along with a potential Cameron Heyward future replacement and depth at the tight end position, particularly one who is a willing blocker.

Stay tuned as we continue recapping the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 in our next column, which will conclude with day three of the draft where the front office continued to find “slam dunk” choices who would standout as rookies during the regular season.

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