With the Steelers’ 2023 offseason underway following a disappointing season that came up just short of reaching the playoffs, it’s time to begin reloading, through the free agency process, through the draft, and perhaps even through trade.
This is now a young team on the offensive side of the ball, though one getting older on defense, and both sides could stand to be supplemented robustly, including in the trenches—either one. Changes have been made to the coaching staff, even if not all of the desired ones, as the roster continues to renew with the weeks ticking by.
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: The Steelers should use the 32nd overall pick to trade back into the first round tonight.
Explanation: With the Steelers in possession of the valuable commodity of the top pick in the second round, they are in the unusual position for themselves to have the resources of trading back into the first round and making two selections on the opening day of the draft. Some, like Jeremy Fowler, believe they could be looking to do that.
No matter how deep teams might talk about a draft class being, in most years, they only have a select number of players they personally deem to merit a first-round grade, and that number is usually substantially lower than 32. But every team grades the prospects differently, so it’s entirely possible that 32 teams come away with a player they had a first-round grade on.
The Steelers are a team as much in need of talent as they are in need of depth, and landing two players they believe are special can do that. What if, for example, they could walk away tonight with offensive tackle Broderick Jones and cornerback Deonte Banks or Joey Porter Jr.? How could you pass that up?
The Steelers should, if anything, be looking to trade down from 32, as I did in my one and only and hopefully never again mock draft. The thing is, the true blue-chip players may be somewhat limited, but they can still land at least one while still having a puncher’s chance of landing one at 32. There are always players who slip beyond the conventional wisdom, and it may well be one Pittsburgh values.
If not, then they can make their team better by acquiring more draft capital in the middle rounds, where they are deficient after their fourth-round pick, with nothing in the fifth and sixth rounds. As I said above, they need talent, but they do also need depth. Just look at what this defense looked like without a tolerable backup outside linebacker while T.J. Watt was out.