2023 NFL Draft

Heitritter: Expect Steelers To Trade Down In The 2023 NFL Draft

We are under 50 days away from the start of the 2023 NFL Draft and have the all-star game circuit and NFL Combine officially behind us. With the pro day circuit beginning and teams scheduling their top 30 visits, we are now in the thick of draft season with projections and speculation running wild until the picks are officially put in later in April.

As we continue to evaluate prospects and track the Pittsburgh Steelers’ moves regarding what Pro Days they go to and who they speak with, one topic continued to stick in my mind after I left Indianapolis that I will stand on till the day the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off.

The Steelers are going to trade down from either #17 or #32.

Pittsburgh committed highway robbery earlier in the season as GM Omar Khan managed to trade WR Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears for their second-round pick which ended up being the first pick in the second round. The Steelers currently have four picks in the top 80 selections this spring, setting themselves up to add several quality players with their draft capital.

However, the Steelers do have the issue of not having any selections in the fifth or sixth rounds, having a huge break from pick 120 in the fourth round to pick 236 in the seventh round. That’s a very long wait in-between picks and a wait I personally don’t foresee Khan and the rest of the front office wanting to wait that long with players on the board that they are interested in taking.

Given that this draft class is a little weaker that most classes when it comes to the picks outside of the top guys. While they could have a top prospect fall to them or feel the need to pull the trigger on Joey Porter Jr. or Jordan Addison at 17, Pittsburgh also could move back several spots into the 20s if an offer was made to them to pick up more draft capital in the middle rounds and still likely land a player like Addison or Bryan Bresee that they would likely take at 17 if they stayed.

The same goes for pick 32, the first pick in the second round which Khan has mentioned before at the Combine as a valuable trade chip in his back pocket. While Pittsburgh could have their pick of the top prospects available on Day Two of the draft, they could field offers from teams wanting to move up to secure their guy and slide back 5-10 spots, netting another 3rd or 4th round pick as well as picks in the range where they have no selections in the draft, still being able to land a quality top 50 prospect while accumulating more draft capital.

The Steelers will likely have several prospects that they will be targeting at #17 or #32 in this year’s draft. If one of those prospects makes it to them, it’s likely that they will sit pat and make the pick to secure their guy. However, should they have several players on the board they feel that they can get later, exploring a trade down makes a ton of sense for all the reasons listed above. Regardless, I’d be willing to bet that the Steelers do get into the fifth or sixth round in the draft via a trade down when it’s all said and done.

Given that they are picking in what some would call “no man’s land” in the middle of the first round as well as hold the top pick in the second round, I would say it’s pretty likely that Pittsburgh will trade down from one of those two spots if they do trade down come draft day.

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