Seventh Round, Cory Trice Jr., CB, 6-3, 206 lbs, Redshirt Senior, Purdue
With the first of their two seventh-round draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected cornerback Cory Trice of Purdue, a big, outside cornerback.
A fifth-year senior, Trice began his career at Purdue as a safety, moving to cornerback after his freshman season.
He appeared in 11 games as a sophomore, making five starts and intercepting a career-best three passes while also making 30 tackles.
COVID-19 limited Trice to six games in 2020, while knee and ankle injuries forced him to miss all but two games in 2021.
In 2022, Trice appeared in all 13 games for the Boilermakers and had 34 tackles, 12 pass breakups and two interceptions working as a press-man cornerback.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Trice recorded a 40-yard dash of 4.47-second time and also had a 35 ½-inch vertical and 11-0 broad jump, showing good explosiveness. At his pro day, Trice had a 6.70 three-cone drill and a 4.06 time in the short shuttle, both of which are well above average.
After taking Joey Porter Jr. with the first pick of the second round, the Steelers are doubling down at the cornerback position with Trice with another big-bodied player with good speed for the position.
He'll join a now-crowded cornerback room that already includes Porter and veterans Levi Wallace, Ahkello Witherspoon, James Pierre and Patrick Peterson. With his safety background, Trice also could be in the mix at that position, though the Steelers will give him every opportunity to show he is an outside cornerback.
"I think a lot of those answers will be found out when he gets in here and we start moving him around," said Steelers defensive backs coach Grady Brown. "You look at a person's ability to learn different positions and everything like that, but one thing he's shown is that he can be a corner in this league."
His change-of-direction skills are excellent for a cornerback his size and Trice has talent. He likely slipped a little in this deep cornerbacks draft because of the 2021 knee injury, but the value was too good to pass up.
"He did a great job at Purdue, taking up a lot of space on the line of scrimmage, played a lot of press coverage, and that's huge," said Brown. "Really, just the way that he plays press, being able to go down and not play a motor technique, not back up, but really just used that 6-3, 6-2 frame to just take up a lot of space and make guys work on the line of scrimmage. So, really excited about getting him here."