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: Will the Steelers trade up to make their selection in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft?
The Steelers probably deal in trades as infrequently as any other team in the NFL, and that is especially the case when it comes to making pick-for-pick trades during the NFL Draft. It’s a quite common occurrence that they simply make selections at their allotted spots in the draft and call it a day.
There are two reasons for this, the pre-eminent being that they have a good understanding of who they like and where they like them, and are comfortable with their familiarity with their draft real estate. The other reason is that, more than most teams, they don’t seem to pay much heed to the ‘trade value chart’. It’s likely that they often find the value of moving up to be less than what it actually costs to get there.
But that can depend entirely upon the player—and the other players who will be available within their vicinity. When they traded up for Troy Polamalu, for example, they singled him out as a unique talent (and what do you know, they turned out to be right on that one), so they weren’t worried about the cost of the movie relative to what a chart was telling them. An entire draft can be worth one Hall of Famer.
This year, the Steelers sit at 20th overall in the first round, which is a bit of a middle ground between the players regarded as the premium talents and the area in which the drop-off begins. It’s a tipping point whereat the team knows it’s realistic that none of the players they deemed to be ‘special’ will be available to them after 19 have already been chosen.
Some people seem to be pinning their hopes on the Steelers trading up to draft Devin Bush and watching him become a plug-and-play star for years to come. That’s not an unrealistic scenario, but is just one of many possibilities. We’ll know in a couple weeks how it ultimately gets sorted out.