NFL Draft

Steelers Must Consider Trading Down From #49

Steelers' GM Kevin Colbert

Unfortunately, Kevin Colbert wasn’t asked this question yesterday.

Will you consider trading down from #49?

So let me ask – and answer – it.

Yes and yes.

Had he been asked, Colbert of course would’ve offered a vague answer. He’s basically admitted they won’t move up, we already knew that out of a lack of draft capital, but that’s the reason why he should look to move down.

Colbert said it himself. This draft has plenty of depth. The sweet spots are the second and third rounds and Pittsburgh has every opportunity to move back 10 spots, add another third rounder, and plug the holes they have to fill.

Think back to last draft. Colbert explained the rationale of the Devin Bush trade, giving up a 2nd and future 3rd to Denver to nab their guy. The reason? Having two Day Two selections was non-negotiable.

“We said under no circumstances we would go into tomorrow with less than two picks. That was our criteria when myself and coach and Art Rooney sat down. Sure, we’re looking to trade up but we want to have two picks tomorrow because there’s still good players left.”

Technically, yes, they have two Day Two picks. But the latter one, #102, is compensatory, the fifth-to-last pick of the third round. Essentially, a high 4th round pick. Last year, they picked at #66 and #83. Grabbing a higher third round pick would give them a pair of true Day Two picks, letting them treat 102 as a bonus..

As we wrote about last week, #49 is a great spot to trade down with a team looking to grab a Tier 2 quarterback like Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason, or Jake Fromm.

Colbert’s history of trading down is infrequent but there is a precedent. In 2009, he made a deal with the Denver Broncos to get out of the second round, sending #64 and #132 and getting back #79 and #84. Colbert’s in position to do similar this time around.

Nose tackle. Safety. Outside linebacker. Wide Receiver. Running Back. Interior offensive line and offensive tackle. All positions that the team either needs to draft or could definitely add to.

With six picks, just one in the Top 50, two in the Top 102, the value isn’t there to address everything. You’re either simply not going to be able to draft those positions or rely on later Day Three picks to step up. A risky proposition. Try it yourself. Fire up a mock draft simulator and see if you come away feeling like every box has been checked. I’ve yet to.

Take advantage of the draft’s greatest value. Its depth. Sacrifice a little, moving down ten or so spots, to pick up a crucial additional mid-round selection and give yourself more options, flexibility, and talent to this class. More picks also minimizes risk of hoping that player you select at #49 pays off. Lot of eggs in one basket otherwise.

Removing the obvious, these aren’t decisions that will be made this instant. Nor will they occur on Thursday. These deals don’t happen until it’s Friday, you’re on the clock, able to evaluate the board, see what’s available, and what offers are. If there isn’t a deal to be made, so be it, then you stay at 49 and make do.

But 2020 is already crazy enough. Might as well add “Kevin Colbert trades down” to that list. It’d be the smart thing to do.

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