Players Steelers Fans Should Follow During The 2023 NFL Combine
Though it has already been a busy offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers, things will certainly heat up starting February 27th, when this year's NFL Scouting Combine unfolds at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Throughout this process so far, head coach Mike Tomlin and his team have been present at several scouting events, most notably this year's Reese's Senior Bowl, where they held meetings with potential prospects, many of whom will be participating in this year's Combine.
As is the case each season, there are several players on the Steelers' radar heading into the event; one should expect Tomlin and co. to be very involved in the interview process as we reach closer to this year's NFL Draft.
With all this in mind, here are some names for Steelers fans to watch at this year's Combine.
OL Dawand Jones - Ohio State
To say the least, Jones' massive frame (6'8 and 359 lbs) caught everyone's attention at this year's Reese's Senior Bowl. Arguably his biggest fan was Tomlin, who had his eyes on him for the majority of the first day of practice. As a dominant run blocker and progressive pass blocker, Jones' size and skillset could be the type of upgrade the Steelers need on their offensive line, more specifically at left tackle, which is currently occupied by Dan Moore Jr., who had his fair share of struggles this past season. Despite his size, Jones has the type of athleticism that could surprise the masses and grow his stock to a potential top-20 pick.
Events to watch him: Bench Press, 40-yard dash, and vertical jump.
DT Keeanu Benton - Wisconsin
Benton was arguably the most dominant player during practice for this year's Reese's Senior Bowl. From the first day, Benton won the majority of his one-on-ones by effectively using his size, length, and natural strength. Similar to Jones, Benton caught the attention of Tomlin, who told him in their interview that he was on the Steelers draft radar. With the need to bolster their defensive line, he may be the right one to help strengthen a run defense that finished 27th in run stop win rate. As for Benton himself, one should expect him to excel in the bench press event as he is noted as one of the stronger prospects at his position.
Events to watch him: Bench Press and Broad Jump
CB Joey Porter Jr. - Penn State
Few cornerbacks in college football were as accomplished in 2022 as Joey Porter Jr. This past season, he earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors after registering 27 tackles, eight passes defended, and an impressive passer rating allowed of 63.6. Though Porter Jr. has not had any meetings with the Steelers thus far, one should expect that to change at this year's combine. At 6'2, Porter Jr. has the size and length to be an effective cover corner on the outside. As it stands, the Steelers secondary is one of their strongest units, featuring All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick along with the cornerback duo of Cameron Sutton and Levi Wallace. Yet, with uncertainties surrounding Ahkello Witherspoon, Porter Jr. could be the right person to fill that void on the outside.
Events to watch him: 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and 3-Cone
QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson - UCLA
Thompson-Robinson was one of the first quarterbacks the Steelers met this offseason (at the Shrine Bowl). With the futures of Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky on the team in question, the team will likely look to add a quarterback to their roster through this year's NFL Draft. This past college football season, Thompson-Robinson set career highs in completions (266), passing yards (3,154), touchdowns (27), and completion percentage (69.6%). As a dual threat, his ability to run with the football resulted in much success during his five years with the Bruins (1,826 career rushing yards). Steelers fans should expect him to be one of the faster quarterbacks at this year's event.
Events to watch him: 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and on-field throwing