The NFL Draft is the last major roster-building milestone of the offseason and will dictate much about who we see in a uniform come September. For every rookie who makes the 53-man roster, that means one veteran does not. It’s circle of life as far as professional sports goes—out with the old, in with the new.
This year, we’re going to take a look at each draft pick the Pittsburgh Steelers made and examine how they are likely to impact the 53-man roster. How likely are they to make the team, how will they dictate position numbers, whose roster spot are they likely to take? You get the idea.
The Steelers drafted seven players in 2023, including four in the first three rounds, as well as two picks in the seventh. Each of them has a chance to make the roster, certainly, but I think most would be surprised if any fewer than six were on the team.
Draft Pick: Cory Trice Jr.
Draft Slot: Seventh Round (241st overall)
Roster Outlook And Impact:
While many may have viewed Purdue’s Cory Trice Jr. as a late-round prospect, those who did did so primarily as a result of concerns about his injury history and how it might affect his career. His game on the field is not without demerits, but from a talent perspective, it seems as though most scouts agreed that if he were evaluated purely on tape, he would have been off the board at least a few rounds earlier.
Considering the fact that the Steelers had no selections in the fifth and sixth rounds, we don’t even know if Pittsburgh might have been a team willing to take him a round or two earlier than he ended up going. It doesn’t matter now because his foot is in the door.
The second of two cornerbacks Pittsburgh drafted that weekend behind Joey Porter Jr., taken 32nd overall, Trice fits the profile of big, long boundary defenders. He stands at 6’3” and weighed in at 215 pounds, though I believe he said he feels most comfortable playing about five pounds lighter. Still, plenty big.
His selection may have played a role in the Steelers’ decision to release Ahkello Witherspoon, the veteran cornerback who was due to earn $4 million in base salary in 2023, though that move may have occurred anyway.
Still, we cannot chisel Trice’s name into the stone tablet of the 2023 53-man roster just yet. He is still going to have to earn his place even if most Steelers fans may have already convinced themselves that he was a steal.
The top three at the position is already set in Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace, and Porter, and we can’t forget about James Pierre as well as another outside player. That’s already four guys playing on the outside. While Arthur Maulet requested and was granted his release, Chandon Sullivan fills his shoes as an interior slot option. There are also several under-the-radar candidates like Madre Harper and Duke Dawson who will be competing for a roster spot in the secondary as well.