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Darnell Washington remains the best high-value pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers 3rd round selection had a first round grade with some NFL Draft experts.

2023 CFP National Championship - TCU v Georgia Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now being led throughout the offseason by Omar Khan. Khan, taking over the General Manager (GM) role for Kevin Colbert who retired after the 2022 NFL Draft, executed the board beautifully.

Whether it was the trade up to No. 14 with the New England Patriots in Round 1, or the trade back in Round 3 to garner a 4th Round selection, Khan provided elite patience and execution as the board fell the Steelers’ way.

When you talk about the board falling a specific way, you can’t argue with the value the Steelers were able to obtain throughout the 3-day selection process. A recent ESPN article spoke about the best picks for every NFL team, and Darnell Washington being available in Round 3 highlighted the Steelers’ draft.

The first draft of the Omar Khan era at GM was strong, and the biggest upside in the lot came in the third round with tight end Darnell Washington. “I had him as a late-first-round talent,” an NFC scout said. “He really moves well for his size.” Washington’s draft outlook was clouded by knee concerns, though the exact concern is unknown. “It’s laughable — he’ll end up playing at least eight years,” the scout said.

The Steelers were okay with his medical evaluation as well, what continues to be stunning is the fact the Steelers traded out of their 80th overall pick in Round 3 with the Carolina Panthers to No. 93 overall. It was a risk, but it paid off as Washington was still available with their new 3rd round selection.

Other than Washington, ESPN was confident Mike Tomlin knew exactly what he was getting in Joey Porter Jr., and it was why the organization didn’t pull the trigger on a trade out of the top selection in Round 2.

“At No. 33 overall, the Steelers had four serious suitors to move up but opted to take corner Joey Porter Jr. It’s not hard to see why coach Mike Tomlin would want this to happen — Tomlin’s son, Dino, played high school ball with Porter in the Pittsburgh area, and Tomlin has seen him develop on the field for most of the past decade.

Tomlin said in one of the many press conferences he had leading up to, during, and after the draft that he doesn’t lean on his son, Dino, to give him professional advice. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t paying attention all those years he attended his son’s game and noticed the potential which resided in a player like Porter Jr.

The Steelers were highly touted as having one of the best draft classes not just in the division, but across the NFL. Will it live up to the hype? Will the “value” provide on-field production? That has yet to be seen. In the meantime, speculation is all we can gather as the Steelers press on throughout the 2023 NFL offseason.