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2023 NFL Draft: Know your new Steelers enemies after Days 2 and 3

Get to know the players that were drafted into the AFC North and are now instant rivals of Steeler Nation.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The second and third days of the NFL draft brought Joey Porter Jr, Keanu Benton, Darnell Washington, Nick Herbig, Cory Trice,Jr. and Spencer Anderson for Steeler Nation to cheer for. But with that, it serves up more players to serve as instant rivals to boo. Our very own Andrew Wilbar provides scouting analysis leading a team of staffers and fans called the BTSC Big Board Crew. The BTSCBBC includes writers Jeremy Betz, Shannon White, SNW, Ryland B. and fans Necksnation, Noah E, skyfire322, Adam Curry and John O’Malley. Thanks to Andrew and those fine contributors for the assist below.

Round 2 Pick 60

Cincinnati Bengals select CB D.J. Turner - Michigan

  • 6’0”, 181 lbs.
  • 2022 Stats: GP 14, T 36, TFL 1, S 0, Int 1, PD 10
  • Wilbar’s Grade and Rank: 23rd/Late 1st

Andrew Wilbar’s Scouting Report:

Turner has been a pillar of production for the Michigan defense the past two seasons, consistently blanketing opponents’ number one receiver. Despite a rather small frame for a boundary corner, Turner plays bigger than his size and is unafraid to get physical with receivers at the line. He also makes up for any lack of size with incredible speed, and that speed was further exposed when he ran a blazing 4.26 40 at the combine. I also appreciate how Turner consistently gets good position against receivers in man coverage. His hips are fluid, and his aggressive hands make receivers work for positioning right off the line of scrimmage. The Mike Macdonald effect on the Michigan defense gave Turner experience in both man and zone, which made him much more schematically versatile. It was a little rough at the beginning, but once he learned the concepts of zone, it did not take long for him to begin producing again. For a smaller corner, he was a solid tackler at Michigan, but adding a few pounds to his frame may be needed to make those tackles in the NFL. Ultimately, I see Turner as a boundary corner who may begin his career in a nickel role. The upside is off the charts.

Michigan v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

What this means for the Steelers: The Bengals get a great man-coverage guy to help out a defensive backfield that needs retooling. Throw in the fact that he’s a small guy, Turner ran a 4.26. The Steelers receivers aren’t going to find it easy to run past this guy.

Round 3 Pick 74

Cleveland Browns (From New York Jets) select WR Cedric Tillman III - Tennessee

  • 6‘3“, 215 lbs.
  • 2022 Stats: GP 6, Rec 37, Yds 417, TD 3.
  • 2021 Stats: GP 12, Rec 54, Yds 1081, TD 12
  • Wilbar’s Grade/Ranking: Late 3rd/101st

Adam C’s Scouting Report:

Tillman had a great 2021 season at Tennessee; however, his 2022 season was hampered by a high ankle sprain in week 3. He demonstrated toughness to come back from that injury during the season, but never reached the heights of the previous year. He has ideal size to play at the next level and uses that size well, catching aggressively and frequently pulling the ball in when contested. He has a good radius and smooth route running. There are two real question marks. Firstly, his explosiveness out of breaks is less than desirable and he may struggle to separate in underneath routes at the next level. Secondly, similarly to his teammate Jalin Hyatt, there are questions over how translatable Tennessee’s offensive scheme is to an NFL route tree. Tillman did line up in tight splits or in the slot occasionally, which should leave scouts with less question marks over the completeness of his game.

TransPerfect Music City Bowl - Purdue v Tennessee Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

What this means for the Steelers:

Pittsburgh’s defense always has their hands full with the Cleveland run game, but Tillman offers up a huge frame and an even bigger challenge for the Steelers secondary to deal with in the form of the 6’3” Tennessee Volunteer in the passing game.

Round 3 Pick 86

Baltimore Ravens select ILB Trenton Simpson - Clemson

  • 6‘3”, 235 lbs.
  • 2022 stats: GP 12, T 72, TFL 4, S 2.5, Int 0, PD 3, FR 0, FF 2
  • Wilbar’s Grade: Mid 2nd/43rd

Shannon White’s Scouting Report:

Simpson embodies the modern-day interior linebacker the league is looking for, possessing the superior mobility needed to excel in coverage. The former Clemson Tiger, at 6’2” and 235 lbs., has the size and skill profile of the modern-day Mack. Simpson’s 4.43 forty shows up on film, as he can easily turn and run with most receivers. This ability has resulted in numerous evaluators suggesting the possibility of a Carnell Lake-like move to safety in the NFL, but not solely because of his elite level athleticism. Simpson lacks ideal instincts, and the physicality to disengage from blockers, similar to a recently departed predecessor. Based on those shortcomings alone, I cannot justify selecting him in the first round.

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship-Clemson at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What this means for the Steelers: Simpson adds to the ever-expanding stable of linebackers in Baltimore. If Roquan Smith or Patrick Queen go down, Simpson is that guy that can fill in seamlessly with his attention to the run and his ability to cover ball-catchers.

Round 3 Pick 92

Cincinnati Bengals trade the 92nd pick to Kansas City for the 95th and 217th pick

What this means for the Steelers: The only thing that this means is that the Steelers will have to root against one more dude wearing that silly uniform.

Round 3 Pick 95

Cincinnati Bengals select S Jordan Battle - Alabama

  • 6’1”, 210 lbs.
  • 2022 Stats: GP 13, T 71, TFL .5, Int 1, PD 2.
  • Wilbar’s Grade/Ranking: Mid 4th/116th

Noah_E’s Scouting Report:

Battle possesses a very intriguing blend of size and athleticism. He’s a very fluid mover who can change direction quickly as well as break on the ball in an instant. In coverage, he has a high football IQ, great instincts, and he reads the quarterback well. At 6’1” and 210 pounds with a projected 40 in the mid 4.4’s, Battle is a big hit machine. He also has solid ball skills but hasn’t been able to translate them into many turnovers. Battle is also a tick late in play recognition, and he has a major tackling problem. He oftentimes won’t wrap up, and his technique overall is sloppy. He is well worth a first-round pick, and if he can clean up his tackling problem, he could be a game-changer for a defense.

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Kansas State at Alabama Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

What this means for the Steelers: Here’s a dude that could have snuck into the first round but ultimately went later on. The Bengals defensive backfield has lost talent and a hard hitter like Battle could mean that some black-and-gold ribs will get rattled.

Round 3 Pick 98

Cleveland Browns select DT Siaki Ika - Baylor

  • 6‘4”, 350 lbs.
  • 2022 stats: GP 12, T 24, TFL 2, S 0, FR 0, FF 0.
  • Wilbar’s Grade/Rank: Mid 3rd/90th

Andrew Wilbar’s Scouting Report:

Early in the process, I was one of the biggest proponents of drafting Ika in the early rounds of the draft. However, much has changed since then. I was in Indianapolis to see Ika’s combine workout first-hand, and all I came away with was the realization that Ika did not look big running drills. He looked fat running drills. There is a big difference between the two, and as sad as I was to change my opinion on him, I could not help but dock his grade a good bit. On tape, Ika displayed a surprising bit of twitch for a big man, but he was not an every-down player at Baylor. One reason why may have been his conditioning, which does not look to be a strong suit of his. Unless he can shed some weight and get into better physical shape, he will be limited to a short-yardage run-stuffing role.

NCAA Football: Albany at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What this means for the Steelers: Ika was once a darling of Steelers Nation, but his stock dropped after the combine. Siaki’s a big body up front that could clog running lanes for the likes of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, plus the thought of yinzers pronuncing his full name twice a season is nothing short of delicious.

Day 3 Selections

Round 4 Pick 111: Cleveland Browns select OT Dawand Jones - Ohio State

Round 4 Pick 124: Baltimore Ravens select EDGE Tavius Robinson - Mississippi

Round 4 No. 126: Cleveland Browns (from MIN) select DE Isaiah McGuire - Missouri

Round 4 Pick 131: Cincinnati Bengals select WR Charlie Jones - Purdue

Round 5 No. 140 Cleveland Browns (from LA) select QB Dorian Thompson-Robison - UCLA

Round 5 Pick 142 Cleveland Browns select CB Cameron Mitchell - Northwestern

Round 5 Pick 157 Baltimore Ravens select CB Kyu Blu Kelly - Stanford

Round 6 Pick 163 Cincinnati Bengals select RB Chase Brown - Illinois

Round 6 Pick 190 Cleveland Browns select C Luke Wypler - Ohio State

Round 6 Pick 199 Baltimore Ravens select OT Malaesala Aumavae - Oregon

Round 6 Pick 206 Cincinnati Bengals select WV Andrei Iosivas - Priceton

Round 6 Pick 217 Cincinnati Bengals select P Brad Robbins- Michigan

Round 7 Pick 229 Baltimore Ravens select OL Andrew Vorhees - USC

Round 7 Pick 246 Cincinnati Bengals select CB D.J. Ivey - Miami (Fla.)

What do you think of the players who are going to be new to the division? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers after the 2023 NFL Draft.

Will any of these guys possess names that will live on in the Steelers-Ravens, Steelers-Browns and Steelers-Bengals rivalry, victimizing Pittsburgh for years to come or will they be just another victim of the black and gold? We will see.