Speculating about trades is often a fruitless task. It’s always an interesting conversation but an unpredictable one. The draft works like an Etch A Sketch. By Thursday evening, your mocks, predictions, and speculation will be shaken up and everything you thought you knew erased for good.
But I did want to dip my toe into the water for two scenarios. They’re not the crazy, get your tinfoil-hat-head-for-the-bunker deals – at least I hope not. But two ideas that make sense in value, player, and draft connections.
Trade Scenario #1:
The Pittsburgh Steelers Trade: #20, #83, #192
The Carolina Panthers Trade: #16
The Pittsburgh Steelers Select: LB Devin Bush
You could work out a scenario where the Steelers come up much higher, to #8 (Detroit) or #9 (Buffalo) to jump the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals, two teams likely to be in the Bush sweepstakes. But let’s assume that doesn’t happen because that’s a lofty projection that’ll make you take out a second mortgage. That’s going to take either #52 (plus more) or all the third round picks Kevin Colbert can find between the couch cushions.
But if Bush can somehow slip past the Bengals at #11, maybe Devin White tumbles, perhaps someone takes a quarterback, who knows. Humor me here. Then Pittsburgh could have a serious conversation about making their move.
Enter Carolina. They don’t have a shortage of picks but lack a surplus, the standard seven for the whole draft. So there could be interest in seeing them roll back a few spots and collecting a couple extra picks, especially knowing the depth of this draft. In 2019, depth outweighs the elite talent.
Relatively speaking, understand no team is going to give picks away, the Panthers should be easy to work with. Ownership probably isn’t heavily involved in the draft process but I bet new owner David Tepper wants to be around the scene for his first draft. Exciting time of year. Tepper was a part-owner of the Steelers before going to Carolina.
There’s less of a connection with GM Marty Hurney but he’s a long-time executive that I’m sure has built up some sort of relationship with Colbert, who can make the same claim. These two have made one trade before. In 2004, Colbert sent OT Todd Fordham to Carolina for a 7th round pick.
Then there’s Ron Rivera. What’s the connection there? A pretty good one actually. Maybe you know this, maybe you don’t, but the Steelers interviewed Rivera, then the DC for Chicago, for the head coaching job after Bill Cowher’s retirement. Dan Rooney defended himself from criticism Mike Tomlin was initially interviewed solely to fulfill the Rooney Rule requirement. Not the case.
“Let me say this, Mike Tomlin was not part of the Rooney Rule,” Rooney said. “We had already interviewed [Bears defensive coordinator] Ron Rivera, and so that fulfilled the obligation.”
And of course, there’s been a strong relationship between the two organizations, meeting in the final preseason game for the last 17 years. I think they can work out a deal. That’s my point here.
Colbert apparently doesn’t use a trade chart but using Jimmy Johnson’s model, the numbers match up. Carolina’s 16th pick is worth 1000 points. Pittsburgh sending 20, 83, and 192 comes out to 1039.2. Completing this deal will allow the Panthers to make three picks in the middle of the draft: 77, 83, and 100. Again, with the depth it presents, that’s a good place to be.
Perhaps the Steelers would ultimately have to send send 66 to get it done. But if I’m Colbert, this is my opening offer. Especially if it means making Devin Bush a Steeler.
Trade Scenario #2
The Pittsburgh Steelers trade: #52, #83, #192
The Oakland Raiders trade: #35, #218
The Pittsburgh Steelers select: S Darnell Savage
Let’s all be honest with ourselves. Savage ain’t making it to 52. If only wishing made it so. So if the Steelers want him, and don’t choose him at #20, they’ll have to move up to grab him.
Hello Oakland. We meet again. Choosing Jon Gruden and his merry band of exiled scouts makes sense on multiple levels. The recent history between the clubs is obvious: Martavis Bryant, Ryan Switzer, and Antonio Brown. They trade more often than you visit the dentist.
The Raiders pick four times in the top 35, three of them in the first round. But there’s a lull from then, waiting from 35 to 106. Don’t count on Gruden being capable of such patience. So after scooping up three first round talents, they’ll probably be open to trading down, collecting picks in the middle to totally revamp a roster that needs it.
Value works out well, too. Oakland’s picks are worth 553.8 while the Steelers total 569.2. Oakland getting 192 bumps them back up into the 6th round while Pittsburgh receiving 218 gives them back-to-back picks in the 7th (218 & 219), which is kinda nice. And of course, they get Savage, a young, tremendous athlete capable of a Year One impact.