The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers will trade up in the fourth round, which has historically been their favorite in which to do so.
Explanation: While the Steelers have already made one big trade, they often use the third day to re-evaluate where they stand and try to get the best player left on their board when possible. They didn’t have a fourth-round pick last season but have moved up, or back into, the round in the past for players such as Alameda Ta’amu and Shamarko Thomas.
The fact that they still have six more draft picks, including a couple of extra six-round selections, makes it more likely that the Steelers will try to trade up than it would otherwise be. They hold the 20th pick in the fourth round, but they have the third pick in the fifth and the second in the sixth from the Oakland Raiders. The former was acquired from the Antonio Brown trade, the other from the Ryan Switzer trade.
Pittsburgh has been enamored in recent years in swapping picks, so they could package their late fourth and early sixth for an early fourth and seventh, for example. Terms of a deal shouldn’t be too complicated to make provided that they find a partner.
Add in the reality that they still have holes at running back, tight end, outside linebacker, and safety, and I think it’s plausible to believe that they will want to fill in one of those spots with the best prospect that they have left available to them, while still having enough ammunition to get to everything later in the draft.
Considering the Steelers already sat tight while watching the second round go by, they may already be all traded out. The fact that they have early picks in the fifth and sixth rounds also helps prevent an impulse to trade up, knowing that they will have earlier chances to address positions than they would have had with their native selections.
And they don’t seem to want to give up any more picks than they already have, parting with a second and a third over the next two years from the Devin Bush trade. They don’t necessarily hoard as many picks as they can as some teams do, and if there is a player that they like they’re going to go and get him, but they also don’t want to be frivolous when they do have the opportunity to have more selections than they normally do.