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College coaches were stunned the Steelers got Payton Wilson when they did

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a great 2024 NFL Draft, and one which has been lauded by more than one media outlet as one of the best in the NFL. Throughout the process the Steelers stayed patient and let the board fall to them. That would include the selections of two Wilsons in the 3rd Round. But the selection of Payton Wilson, the second of two 3rd Round picks, has been considered one of the best value picks in the draft.

In fact, Wilson barely sneaking into the top 100 picks seemed odd for the 2023 Butkus and Bednarik Award winner, who had 30 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks and 13 passes deflected in his final two seasons with the Wolfpack.

A recent ESPN article spoke with several college coaches and got their thoughts on the draft process, and picks which stood out. Let’s just say many were shocked Wilson lasted as long as he did.

“Of all the guys we played, he was like, ‘Holy s—, he’s different,'” an ACC offensive coordinator said. “That dude has such a relentless motor, and he’s long. If he can stay healthy, that kid will play for a long, long time.”

Another coach talked about more specific measurables were the reason why Wilson might have slipped down the draft and into the late 3rd Rounds, but still wasn’t sure why he wasn’t picked earlier.

Added a power-conference coach: “He slid because his arms are short, he’s had some injury history, but he can really run, he’s athletic, he was extremely productive and he stayed healthy the last two years.”

The Steelers got a tremendous value in Wilson, and the question will be if he can stay healthy at the NFL level. If he can, the Steelers got a late 1st Round or 2nd Round player near the tail end of the 3rd Round. If his two years of being injury free aren’t the new trend, and he ends up being injured more than healthy, the rest of the league will smile and say, “That’s why he fell the way he did.”

Only time will tell if Wilson pans out with the Steelers, but the team was willing to take a shot on the N.C. State product, and many of his peers and coaches think he will have plenty to prove with the Steelers. Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the offseason.


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