Steelers Projected to Land ‘Top Overall Prospect’ to Play Opposite T.J. Watt

Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr

Brandon Sumrall/Getty Images Will Anderson Jr. #31 of the Alabama Crimson Tide lines up against Kameron Jones of the Mississippi State Bulldogs on October 22, 2022.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers at 2-6 and currently in line to select No. 4 overall in 2023, it’s not too early to start considering the possibilities that would come with a Top 5 draft pick. Considering that the Steelers have the worst offense in the NFL (15.0 points per game), one would expect the team to look to that side of the ball for help.

But two draft prognosticators have the Steelers grabbing a pass rusher at or near the top of the 2023 draft, namely Alabama edge Will Anderson Jr., whose game will be on display tonight when the No. 6 ranked Crimson Tide (7-1), visit the No. 15 ranked LSU Tigers (6-2).


Will Anderson Jr. the ‘Top Overall Prospect’ in 2023

“There’s no need to overthink this one,” say Mike Renner and Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus (PFF). “Anderson is the best non-quarterback in this draft class. He led the nation in pressures last year (82) and ranks fifth in pressures this season (37). At only 243 pounds, he’s also a tremendous run-defender, earning grades of 89.6 and 86.7 in that facet the past two seasons.”

Josh Edwards of CBSSports.com sees the Steelers going the same way, even though the team holds the No. 1 pick on his draft board, as determined by the reverse order of SportsLine’s Super Bowl odds.

“There was a real temptation to take a quarterback No. 1 overall despite selecting Kenny Pickett in the first-round last year. However, there is not a slam-dunk quarterback prospect in this class, so it felt too soon to move on from Pickett. Instead, the Steelers take the top-overall prospect in Anderson,” writes Edwards, passing over a trio of top quarterbacks in Bryce Young (Alabama), C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) and Will Levis (Kentucky) — the same set of QBs that PFF has going No. 1, 2 and 3 on its draft board.

The Steelers could also choose to trade down to amass additional draft capital, though the team hasn’t had the opportunity to select in the Top 5 since drafting future Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw No. 1 overall in 1970.


Joey Porter Jr. Projected to Be a 1st-Round Pick in 2023

Meanwhile, the son of a former Steelers star is expected to be a 1st-round pick in next year’s draft. For his part, Josh Edwards has Joey Porter Jr. — the son of ex-Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter — to get selected No. 25 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“He’s legit. He’s easily Penn State’s best NFL prospect, and a starting caliber NFL corner,” said one NFC personnel executive in an interview with Heavy’s Matt Lombardo.

Porter Jr. — who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds — plays cornerback for the No. 16 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2), who visit the Indiana Hoosiers on Nov. 5. His father was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 1999 draft out of Colorado State. He played the first eight seasons of his 13-year NFL career in Pittsburgh, earning Pro Bowl honors three times, including a first-team All-Pro season in 2002.

Joey Porter finished his career with 188 games played, during which time he was credited with 689 total tackles, including 124 tackles for loss, 98 sacks and 72 quarterback hits, not to mention 12 interceptions, 49 passes defensed, 25 forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries.

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