Day 2 of the draft was eventful in the AFC North, with all but one team making multiple selections. A total of eight prospects were drafted between the division’s four teams, adding to the infusion of high-level talent from Thursday night.
Let’s break down what every squad did in Rounds 2-3.
Pick: No. 32 overall
Selection: Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr.
By virtue of their trade with the Chicago Bears last year, where they shipped off wide receiver Chase Claypool, the Steelers opened up the second round. At No. 32 overall they picked cornerback Joey Porter Jr. out of Penn State, which felt almost inevitable.
Porter Jr. was a popular mock draft choice to Pittsburgh in the first round but ultimately his stock dropped a little prior to Thursday. No matter, as the Steelers still ended up with him anyways. Porter Jr. is the son of former longtime Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter and played collegiate football only a couple hours away from Pittsburgh with the Nittany Lions.
Aside from those connections, the athletic cornerback fits an immediate need for the Steelers at the position and profiles as a starting-caliber player from Day 1.
Pick: No. 49 overall
Selection: Wisconsin DT Keeanu Benton
With their second pick in Round 2, the Steelers added another trench player in defensive lineman Keeanu Benton out of Wisconsin. Pittsburgh values front-seven players in almost every draft, so this selection is not surprising.
Benton has a strong physical profile and profiles as an immediate run-stuffing impact player as a rookie. The Steelers have long had one of the league’s better defensive lines but need to get younger at defensive tackle and defensive end. Benton can step in as a rotation player alongside Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi, who Pittsburgh signed this offseason.
Pick No. 93 (via trade with Carolina)
Selection: Georgia TE Darnell Washington
After trading back 13 spots from No. 80 overall, the Steelers jumped in on this year’s tight end party, selecting Darnell Washington out of Georgia. Washington is a talented prospect from the national champions but reportedly slipped due to medical concerns.
At 6-foot-7 with good athleticism, though, Washington can be an instant contributor in the NFL. The Steelers already have Pat Freiermuth at the position so likely envision a two-tight end combination rounding out their receiving core for quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Pick: No. 60 overall
Selection: Michigan CB D.J. Turner II
After landing a potential Round 1 steal in Myles Murphy, the Bengals made another good value selection at pick No. 60 — taking cornerback D.J. Turner out of Michigan. Turner was thought to be an early second-round pick but slid towards the end of the round.
Turner is an aggressive, athletic defensive back who had the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine last month. He doesn’t have great size or length but makes up for it with great speed and agility. Turner might best slot in as a nickel defender in the pros.
After drafting Dax Hill at the end of last year’s first round, the Bengals have now drafted a Michigan defensive back in two straight years.
Pick: No. 95 overall (via trade with Kansas City)
Selection: Alabama S Jordan Battle
The Bengals traded back three spots from No. 92 overall with the Chiefs. Then, with their third pick of the draft, they double-downed with another defensive back in Alabama’s Jordan Battle.
Battle was a four-year safety for the Crimson Tide and possesses a well-rounded skill set for a late third-round pick. He should be an immediate contributor for a Bengals’ defense that lost both of their starting safeties in free agency.
Pick: No. 86 overall
Selection: Clemson LB Trenton Simpson
After waiting over 50 picks to make their second selection, the Ravens selected linebacker Trenton Simpson out of Clemson. Simpson was one of the highest-rated inside linebackers in this year’s draft cycle but fell late into the third round.
Simpson is a lengthy, fast player for the position who profiles as a versatile coverage defender. However, he has much room for improvement as a run defender and open-field tackler. The Ravens don’t have a need at linebacker with Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, although this pick could hint that the latter’s days in Baltimore are numbered.
Pick: No. 74 overall
Selection: Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman
It took until just before 10:00pm EST on Friday night for the Browns to make their first pick of the draft. At No. 74 overall, they nabbed wide receiver Cedric Tillman out of Tennessee.
Tillman is a big-bodied wideout at 6-foot-3, 213 pounds, and possess strong ball skills as a possession-catch receiving threat. He missed a number of games in 2022 which may have dropped his stock a little but was otherwise productive when on the field.
The Browns have now drafted a wide receiver in the third round for three straight seasons, with Anthony Schwartz and David Bell preceding Tillman.
Pick: No. 98 overall
Selection: Baylor DT Siaki Ika
The Browns’ addressed one of their biggest roster needs at the end of the third round, taking defensive tackle Siaki Ika out of Baylor. Ika has a strong physical profile and good athleticism for his size at 6-foot-3, 335 pounds.
He profiles primarily as a run defender in the NFL, at least early on, which is an area the Browns need to improve from last season. So, Ika should be able to step in and play valuable snaps on Cleveland’s defense from Day 1, which is good value to find with a late third-round pick.