The Pittsburgh Steelers are in an unusual spot this draft. They don’t pick until #49 overall, their latest slated selection since 1963. But believe it or not, that positions holds a bit of power. If the Steelers want to trade down, and they should strongly look at doing so, the mid-second round is where teams come calling for Tier 2 quarterbacks.
Over the past decade, the 40-60 range is where team swoop in for the non-elite, but still good, QBs. Guys who aren’t at the top of the class but the best of the best before the position follows a deep falling off, from fringe-starter prospects to guys who would be lucky to become a reliable backup.
Here’s a list of second round QBs taken from 2010-2019:
2019: Drew Lock (42)
2017: DeShone Kizer (52)
2016: Christian Hackenberg (51)
2014: Derek Carr (36), Jimmy Garoppolo (62)
2013: Geno Smith (39)
2012: Brock Osweiler (57)
2011: Andy Dalton (35), Colin Kaepernick (36)
2010: Jimmy Clausen (48)
Two of which, Lock and Kaepernick, were traded up to get. The average draft position of those QBs? 46th overall, three picks ahead of the Steelers’ 49th selection. Pittsburgh’s in prime real estate for a team looking to move up.
The good news is there’s plenty of QBs for clubs who missed out on the Burrow’s and Herbert’s of the world. Green Bay held a virtual meeting with Jalen Hurts and according to Ian Rapoport, has serious interesting in making him Aaron Rodgers’ understudy.
Georgia’s Jake Fromm appears to be on the Patriots’ radar while Washington’s Jacob Eason had video calls with roughly a dozen teams. All three have good odds of being taken in the second round. If those teams want to move up, Pittsburgh’s a team that could be picking up the phone to fall back.
So let’s play this out. Here’s three trade scenarios. Total speculation, I know, but I bet these conversations will occur on draft day. Kevin Colbert has no interest in a QB, the Steelers have just six picks (one in the top 100), and other clubs will be searching for a dance partner.
Pittsburgh Trades: #49
Green Bay Trades: #62 + #94, select Jalen Hurts
Trade value charts vary and Colbert has admitted in the past he doesn’t use it but the math works out well here. According to this chart, Pittsburgh’s 49th pick is worth 410 points. Green Bay’s #62 and #94 is worth 408, a nearly even exchange.
The Packers get their future with Hurts while Pittsburgh now has #62, #94, and #102 on Day Two of the draft.
Pittsburgh Trades: #49
New England Trades: #87 + #98 + #100 + #172, select Jake Fromm
Not quite as 1:1 in terms of the chart, New England’s picks are only worth 384.4 but that is quite a haul for the Steelers. Dave-Te Thomas said on his Terrible Podcast appearance Bill Belichick is looking to move up into the second round (they currently don’t select there) with their trio of third round selections.
Pittsburgh is taking quite a fall here, moving down 38 spots, but they’ll have a ton of ammo to plug their holes on the roster and four selections from #87 to #102. Plus they get a 5th rounder they don’t currently own. No one likes trading with the enemy like the Pats but this deal would be hard to pass up.
Pittsburgh Trades: #49 + 135
Detroit Trades: #67 + #85, select Jacob Eason
It’s possible the Lions take a QB in the first two rounds, picking at #3 and #35, but if they trade out of #3 (something that is possible) and go elsewhere at #35, Matt Patricia may look to make a play to find Matthew Stafford’s replacement. Their QB situation looked a lot like Pittsburgh’s when Stafford went down last season. Pretty ugly.
Pittsburgh would come down 18 spots to pick up another mid-third rounder, giving them three third round selections. I have them kicking in #135 because if you look at the history of some Day 2 trades, there’s often another pick involved. Math works out to where the Steelers kick in one of their 4th rounders.
If the Lions trade out of #3, they may be more aggressive to trade up, having more ammo in the draft.
One last idea. A deal with Washington is possible too, picking at #66 with a new regime who didn’t draft Dwayne Haskins, hey’re without a second round pick and not taking a QB at #2 (Chase Young is their guy). Unfortunately, they have awfully limited draft capital, and it’s hard to make the numbers work without adding in a future, 2021 selection. That’s something I’d doubt the Steelers would do.
What the national media is getting wrong is the obsession in mocking the Steelers a QB. That almost certainly isn’t going to happen. But Pittsburgh can leverage their draft position, right in the middle of QB territory, to solve their six draft pick dilemma and fill the several needs on the roster.