Back in late April, Pittsburgh Steelers fans felt great about how the first couple days of the draft went, but nobody could have predicted how much the players the team selected would be of assistance, especially this early. The Steelers have gotten heavy contributions from the young guys over the past few weeks, leading to some key midseason wins.
Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr, and Keeanu Benton have all been solid for the Steelers. At the beginning of the season, many fans were calling for more playing time for the rookies, but it seems the Steelers plan of slow integration has paid major dividends for them. Sometimes the guy on his couch might not know more than the guys in charge of these billion-dollar organizations, who would have thought?
Broderick Jones Proving He’s a Dawg
The Steelers first-round pick wasn’t seeing the field too much to start the season, but thanks to Right Tackle Chuks Okorafor saying something that didn’t sit right after the Jaguars loss, the Steelers told Broderick Jones he was starting at Right Tackle instead of his familiar position on the left side.
The former Georgia Bulldog has only started two games for the Steelers, but he’s put together two great outings. Jones has allowed zero sacks or quarterback hits and only two hurries and pressures while pass-blocking. But that’s not even the best part. Ever since the Steelers made the change, they have finally been able to run the ball at a respectable clip.
In the game against the Titans, Jaylen Warren averaged 8 yards per carry and Najee Harris averaged 4.3. Last week against the Packers, Warren averaged 6.7 yards per carry on his way to his first 100-yard rushing game in the NFL and Harris was able to get 5.1 yards per carry. Something happened when Jones entered the starting lineup, something very good.
Joey Porter Jr. has Steelers Football In His DNA
Joey Porter Jr. has been electric anytime he’s been on the field this season but also made his debut in the starting lineup against the Titans, the same as Jones. It was revealed that at some point before the game against Tennessee, Porter Jr. told the coaching staff that he wanted to guard Deandre Hopkins. The kid has no fear, he runs to it as Mike Tomlin would say. Porter Jr. got targeted five times and only allowed one reception for 17 yards. Lockdown.
He’s been a stud all season. Porter Jr. has the lowest completion rate when targeted in the NFL at 26%. It’s still very early in his career, but so far the rest of the league is looking like fools for letting him fall to the second round.
Keeanu Benton Quietly Playing Above Expectations
Another second-round pick from the recent draft, Keeanu Benton has been undercover balling for the Steelers in his limited usage. His stat sheet might not be the fullest, but real ball knowers see him out there wreaking havoc on Sunday. Benton logged his highest snap share against the Packers, finding himself on the field for 66% of the defensive snaps. He logged six total tackles with three being solos, and had two quarterback hits. The Steelers keep taking the Wisconsin Badgers players and it keeps working out.
Omar Khan Nailed The Draft
On top of the three big hitters, the Steelers also have gotten some good football out of Tight End Darnell Washington in the blocking department, and Edge Nick Herbig has also been solid, although he hasn’t seen the field as much as the other guys. This could go down as a legendary draft for the Steelers if these players continue on this current path to greatness. We could look back at this class as one of the best for Pittsburgh in recent memory.
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