2023 NFL Draft

Steelers Trade Down In New PFF Mock Draft

Another day, another mock draft. The NFL draft season is in full swing with any and every outlet that covers the league dropping enough mocks to fill up their traffic quota for the year. 

Most recently, the folks over at Pro Football Focus dropped one that may cause Steelers fans to raise an eyebrow. 

Instead of staying at pick 17, Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo decided the team would trade back in the draft for the 27th and the 91st selection. The trade was made with the Buffalo Bills who moved up to chose Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson. 

Now with the 27th pick, the duo has Pittsburgh selecting cornerback Emmanuel Forbes out of Mississippi State. 

Here’s what Steelers Depot’s Chandler Stroud had to say about the defensive back

“All in all, he’s a very productive player that’s going to make a lot of plays at the professional level. With an NCAA record of six interceptions returned for a touchdown, not only does he gather interceptions, but once he does get the ball, he has a nose for the endzone. I continue to think that he can improve all in all when it comes to man-to-man, but in zone, he has potentially elite traits.”

At the combine Forbes turned heads in more than one way. First, he was an elite performer. Earning an elite Relative Athletic Score of 9.27, headlined by a 4.35 40-yard dash time. For those who don’t know, RAS is an cumulative athletic score based on testing numbers, which compares players who either did or currently still do play in the league. If you don’t already, check out Kent Lee Platte’s Twitter for more results like it. 

On that score one thing that should stand out is Forbes’ listed weight. Everyone knew going into the draft process he was extremely frail, but at 166 pounds the Mississippi State corner would be a massive outlier compared to his peers in the NFL. 

Based on production alone, Forbes figured to be a first round lock, but his skinny stature certainly makes that selection a bit more complicated. 

Let’s quickly revisit the trade, which led to Forbes selection. Monson and Palazzolo elected to trade back from the Steelers original selection, passing on the likes of Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones, Iowa defensive end Lukas Van Ness and Maryland defensive back Deonte Banks.

With needs at all three positions, it would be safe to assume the team has interest in all three prospects listed. And not to throw on my tinfoil hat here, but both head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Omar Khan were both present at Iowa’s and Georgia’s pro day, while Maryland’s pro day is scheduled for March 29th. 

Finally, going off of former Cowboys legendary coach Jimmy Johnson and his famous Draft Pick Value Chart, which places a numerical value on each draft pick, Pittsburgh’s 17th overall selection is good for 950 points, while the 27th pick and 91st together is worth just 816.

Does that really mean anything? Maybe not. I know football fans shake their fists whenever math is uttered in the same sentence as the holy game. But for a team desperate for high-end, young players on the offensive line and in the secondary, this may be a deal better on paper than in reality. 

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