The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Which players would you be willing to trade into the top 10 for?
Before we get too deep into this, let’s set up some simple parameters for the exercise. We’re talking about actually realistic scenarios. Trading up into the top 10 isn’t going to be cheap. You have to consider realistic costs. The Steelers gave up second- and third-round picks (a future pick in the case of the latter) to move up from 20 to 10 in 2019, so that’s a good guideline.
The Steelers sit at 17 in the first round this year. Let’s say for the purposes of this scenario they trade up to nine. It costs them their 49th-overall pick in the second round and, say, their 2024 third-round pick, something in that vein. Who are they trading up to acquire, who is realistically going to be there, that you would be happy with? No, Bryce Young isn’t going to be there. Will Anderson Jr. isn’t going to be there.
For the record, I’m not at all expecting that the Steelers are going to trade up. I’m sure they’ve made inquiries, as has been reported, and I’m sure they make inquiries most years without it amounting to anything. But we can’t rule it out.
Regardless of my own feelings, my guess is if they were willing to trade up for anybody, it would be for a tackle, due to numerous factors, including the drop-off beyond the top of the class. If they manage to trade up to nine, they would at least have a shot at players like Paris Johnson Jr. and Broderick Jones.
They would be much less likely to be available at 17, and they may have them rated higher than the others. Gerry Dulac named those two along with Darnell Wright as the tackles that they like, but if they have Johnson and Jones rated higher yet out of their range, they might be enticed to move up.