The final day of the 2018 NFL Draft is going to get underway in a relatively short amount of time, and the question on my mind is this: how long will we have to wait before the Pittsburgh Steelers are able to get involved in the action?
The Steelers as the board currently stands are not scheduled to make a selection until the 11th pick in the fifth round, which is the 48th pick on the day—nearly half of the total number of picks that we have already gone through during the first three rounds.
Are the Steelers really going to wait that long? I have a strong suspicion that they will not, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, while Pittsburgh does not often trade, it tends to be a move in the fourth round when those trades do happen. We also have recent precedent of them trying to move into the fourth round when they did not have a selection.
I don’t have any immediate sources handy, but I recall reports from the local beat writers during the 2016 NFL Draft that the Steelers wanted to trade up into the fourth round in order to draft a running back, but were unable to land a partner. They previously traded their fifth-round pick that year to the Philadelphia Eagles for Brandon Boykin.
I’ve already previously reviewed the Steelers’ history of trades during the fourth round under Head Coach Mike Tomlin. They have done it three times in his 11 years, including his first, when they gave up a sixth-round pick to move up seven spots to select punter Daniel Sepulveda (in their defense, Adam Podlesh had already come off the board).
They also traded up in 2012 and 2013 for players. The target in the former was nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, moving up about 10 spots for the big man and giving up a sixth-round pick in return. They traded a future third-round pick for a fourth-rounder the following year to select Shamarko Thomas.
The Steelers also used fourth-round picks in other trades, moving back once to pick up a late-rounder in 2008, and then trading second- and fourth-round picks for a pair of third-rounders, so it’s clearly an active area for them, considering that they very rarely manage to pull the trigger on trades.
That trigger finger might be extra itchy this time entering the third day of the draft given that they have two picks in the fifth but none in the fourth. They could pair those together to pick up a fourth-rounder and perhaps a sixth-round pick, giving them an opportunity to land one of their most-coveted players from outside the top 100 players already selected.
If they do make a move to trade up, you would figure that it would have to be for either a linebacker or a running back, though I personally would lean very strongly toward linebacker. I already provided a list of names that would interest me in my question of the day.