Steelers go Local, add more Wilsons in Day #2 of Draft

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By Ray Porter Jr.

Although the Pittsburgh Steelers were unable to land veteran a veteran WR via trade, they hit it big in the second day of the NFL Draft:

With their 3rd-round pick, they went to Morgantown and selected West Virginia C Zach Frazier. Such a move has the potential to fill a need at the position after the release of veteran Mason Cole and their inability to sign one in free agency:

“We’re extremely excited to bring Zach [Frazier] into the program,” said Steelers Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith. “It’s rare you find a guy with that kind of pedigree and his resume and the amount of snaps he has in college. Certainly, his background in wrestling. He’s been a high achiever his whole life, and we couldn’t be more fired up to get Zach in the building.”

During his career with the Mountaineers, Frazier was a Two-time All-American (2021, 2023), a Three-time All-Big 12 Conference (2022, 2023 – First Team, 2021 – Second Team) a Three-time Team Captain, National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete College Sports Communicators First Team Academic, All-American, a Three-time Academic First Team All-Big 12 Conference, he played in 47 career games (46 starts) and registered 37 consecutive starts at center, was named WVU’s Offensive Lineman of the Week 16 times over his career, he allowed one sack over his final two years and four over his career, and collected more than 170 career knockdowns over his last three years.

“I just know how much offensive line means to the Pittsburgh Steelers and you know, their long tradition there of having great o-lineman and great offensive lines.” Said Frazier “So, I mean, it’s special too. And like you said, you know, they already went to the offensive line in the first round. So, it’s special. I’m excited.”

With their first 3rd-round pick, the Steelers selected Michigan WR Roman Wilson. “Yeah, we’re really excited to add Roman Wilson, another really high football character player, a lot of production last year at Michigan, part of that really impressive class in the draft this year,” said Steelers Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith. “And it was really fun being at that Michigan Pro Day, got a chance to go to dinner with all those guys with Mike (Tomlin) and be a part of that process. He really impressed on the football field but off the field as well. So, I’m fired up to get a chance to work with Roman.”

With the reigning College Football National Champions, Wilson played in 46 career games (24 starts) … Caught 107 passes for 1,707 yards and 20 TDs, which ranks seventh in program history. He was also the 2023 Michigan Co-Offensive Skill Player of the Year … 2023 Second-Team All-Big Ten. Also in his final season, Wilson started all 15 games at wide receiver, led the team with 48 catches, 789 yards, and 12 TDs and added one 10-yard rush … All-Big Ten (second team, coaches, and media), six times shared Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance at against ECU, UNLV, Bowling Green, Purdue, at Nebraska and at Michigan State … Registered a career-high three receiving TDs against ECU (Sept. 2), coming on six catches for 78 yards.

When asked about what it was like to interact with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Wilson replied, “Oh, it was cool. I met him a few times before that. The one thing that really stood out was him telling me to go find Quinyon Mitchell, just get reps of him, and just go to work on him. That was one of the big things for me at the Senior Bowl. Just having a guy like Mike Tomlin, I know that he’s watching me, and he wants me to go against the best and ball out. That’s exactly what I went out there and did.”

And for their 2nd (Compensatory pick) 3rd-round pick, the Steelers selected NC State LB Payton Wilson.

“He was a guy we had high on our board. Liked him as a football player. He’s very productive, fast, and really has good football instincts,” said Steelers Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin. “All the things you kind of want in a football player. To see him where he was and have an opportunity to get him, we thought that was a good thing and we like where we are at with that.”

In his career with the Wolfpack, Wilson was a 2023 Butkus Award (nation’s top linebacker), the 2023 Bednarik Award (nation’s top defensive player), the 2023 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, a Unanimous First-Team All-American (AP, AFCA, FWAA, Walter Camp and the Sporting News, along with CBS Sports, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The Athletic, PFF, College Football Network, Bleacher Report), he was the fourth unanimous consensus All-American in school history, he led the ACC and ranked fifth in the FBS in tackles with 11.5 per game. Wilson boasted 17.5 TFL for the season – the 10th-best mark in school history … Registered 138 total tackles.

“I think that just my versatility kind of speaks for itself,” said Wilson. “I think I’m able to play in the box as well as drop into coverage. Growing up, just watching the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. That’s kind of the way that I modeled the way I play. Just hard and fast and physical and playing as tough as you can play. Just super excited to get with everyone there and continue to elevate my game.”

Notes: The Steelers inquired about trading for SF 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, but no deal was done because the asking price was considered too high, per Sources.

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