The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How many players will the Steelers ultimately draft?
With the 2019 NFL Draft now just around the corner, the picture is coming more and more into focus. We know where the Steelers have been, and we know what players have been in to see the Steelers. We have shared our extensive studies tracking patterns and trends for clues as to where the team will lead.
That only gets us so far, of course, but at least it sets a foundation and has us prepared. The Steelers are not a team that deviates a lot and does unexpected things. While they’re not an organization that makes a lot of moves—sometimes seemingly for the sake of it—we have come to be able to predict when they are more likely to do so than not.
This draft is set up more than most others in recent years to be conducive to the Steelers making some trades, including one potentially in the first round. They sit at 20 and have a total of 10 draft picks at their disposal, including two in the third round, one of them among the first picks on Day Two.
They have bargaining chips, so the question is do they have a target, and how much are they willing to risk losing out on him? What price are they willing to pay? Because if they do trade up, they’re obviously not going to end up with 10 draft picks—or at least that would be very unlikely.
It would also make some sense, because the Steelers’ 90-man roster is already pretty full. At last count, I believe I had them somewhere around 75 or so. If they were to use all 10 draft picks, they would only be signing about half a dozen college free agents. They only have 12 offensive linemen right now, so they need to bring in at least two more, if not three, and it would be preferable to do that without using a draft pick.