2024 NFL DRAFT: Steelers select Payton Wilson, Mason Cole, Allen Robinson….

Steelers select Payton Wilson in third round

The Steelers selected linebacker Payton Wilson from North Carolina State in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the 98th overall pick.

“He was a guy we had high on our board,” said defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. “Liked him as a football player. Very productive, fast, really has good football instincts. All the things you want in a football player. Seeing him where he was and having an opportunity to get him, we thought that was a good thing and we like where we’re at with that.

“He brings some speed to our defense. He brings some physicality to our defense. The ability to cover guys. That’s what I look at.”

Wilson played in 46 career games, recording 402 tackles, including 202 solo stops. He had 15 career sacks for a loss of 101 yards, seven interceptions, 20 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

“My versatility speaks for itself,” said Wilson. “I am able to play in the box as well as drop into coverage.

“Growing up watching the Pittsburgh Steelers defense, that is the way I model how I play. Hard, fast, physical and playing as tough as you can play. Super excited to get with everyone there and continue to elevate my game.”

Wilson was the winner of the 2023Butkus Award, presented to the nation’s top linebacker, and the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player.

Wilson played in 12 games in 2023, finishing with a career-high 138 tackles, including 69 solo stops. He also had a career-high six sacks for a loss of 34 yards.

Wilson, whose brother Bryce Wilson pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021-22, is no stranger to Pittsburgh.

“I came to a few games,” said Wilson. “It’s one of my favorite cities of all time. Super familiar with the city. Also, super familiar with how much Pittsburgh loves their professional sports teams. Super excited to get there.”

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