Though the Pittsburgh Steelers hold this year’s 20th pick, their draft could start sooner than that. Trading up for a quarterback is a serious possibility this season. The Steelers need a quarterback, this year’s class isn’t especially deep, and waiting for one or two names to fall to #20 is a risky bet.
We’ve outlined what a trade-up scenario could look like, but NFL.com’s Chad Reuter offered his own look at what Pittsburgh could give up to move up.
In one of six trade scenarios on Day 1, he mocks the Steelers trading up from #20 to #12 with the Minnesota Vikings. To do so, he has Pittsburgh giving up their 20th pick, their 2023 first-round pick and their 2023 third-round pick in order to snag #12.
In describing the deal, Reuter writes:
“The pressure to move up increases if at least two quarterbacks are picked in the top 10 selections. Pittsburgh will be under the gun to get into the range between the 10th and 12th overall picks, with the Eagles (who hold picks No. 15, 16 and 19) being unpredictable, the Saints (No. 18 overall) and Commanders (No. 11) bringing in older quarterbacks with question marks, the Texans (Nos. 3 and 13) considering whether second-year passer Davis Mills is the answer in 2022 and the Titans (No. 26) potentially evaluating the rookie draft class in the wake of Ryan Tannehill‘s up-and-down 2021 season.”
The teens are full of teams who could be looking for a quarterback though teams in the top 10 like Carolina (#6), Atlanta (#8), and Seattle (#9) are even more likely to address the position. Reuter is correct in saying the pressure would rise if two of the top names go in the top 10. Of course, it would also be a thinner pool of quarterbacks to choose from, making it arguably a worse idea to panic and select one let alone trade up to get him.
Reuter also points out the incentive for the Vikings to move down. They don’t need a quarterback, and a new regime may be looking to collect draft picks.
Pittsburgh typically stands pat in the first round but under Kevin Colbert, they’ve been more likely to move up than down. They’ve traded up for Troy Polamalu, Santonio Holmes, and Devin Bush while only trading down in the first round once, moving back three spots in 2001 and still winding up with NT Casey Hampton. Colbert has repeatedly said they will only trade down if they have “X” number of players they really like and want to draft in the move down (i.e. to move down four spots, there’s four players they really want to draft in the first round).
It’s certainly conceivable the team looks to move up into the top 10, but it’ll likely require the top quarterbacks, like Liberty QB Malik Willis, to slip for Pittsburgh to try to move up. If the Steelers want to move up higher, it will come at a higher cost. Even our initial projections in that trade-scenario article may have been light to make a serious push into the top 10. It’ll obviously require next year’s first round pick and potentially multiple other high picks (like 2022’s second and 2023’s third) to push into the #5 or #7 spot with the New York Giants, who are reportedly looking to trade down.