During the 2023 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers again continue their weird roster trend, targeting players with connections to the city. To be fair, Pittsburgh had a strong draft, but they are getting into this weird habit that I think could bite them in the rear end at some point.
At the top of the second round, the Steelers selected Joey Porter Jr, a cornerback from Penn State and the son of Joey Porter, a former Pittsburgh Steeler great. It was a logical choice for the Steelers surely, and JPJR should fill a big need for them, but this hometown-connection roster trend is weird to me, to say the absolute least.
Last year, they reached for former Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett wasn’t close to being a first round quarterback prospect in what was a hilariously weak QB class. Pickett doesn’t do anything particularly above average as a passer and seems like a low ceiling player playing in a conference with some of the best QBs the league has seen in years.
Years ago, they drafted James Conner, a former Pittsburgh Panther. Conner never really did much in Pittsburgh and again it felt like the Steelers wanting to create as many homecomings as possible, for whatever reason.
I don’t know, maybe I’m overreacting to something that isn’t much of an issue at all. I just find it incredibly odd that a professional football team that hasn’t made noise in the playoffs in years does these kind of silly stunts.
However, they did have a very solid 2023 NFL Draft. They landed a franchise left tackle in Broderick Jones, Keeanu Benton, and Darnell Washington, who fell because of injury concerns. Pittsburgh Steelers’ GM Omar Khan had a solid draft and did do enough in the offseason to at least give Kenny Pickett a fair shot.
I think if Pickett doesn’t make a notable jump in year two, we could see the Steelers going in a different direction for their franchise QB.