If The Steelers Trade Up, It’s Most Likely To Be For One Of Two Players

I’ll offer up the same answer I’ve given every time someone’s asked me if the Pittsburgh Steelers will trade up or down in the first round of this year’s draft.


Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. I don’t know. Hey, you get what you pay for. Honestly, no one – including the Steelers – knows the answer to that. Perhaps Omar Khan and company have a sense in the direction they’d like to go but until it’s draft day, you’re on the clock, know how the board is falling, know the offers on the table, it’s all just guesswork. No deal is done until it’s done and spending hours considering trade scenarios is wasted energy.

But if you want me to entertain the idea – it’s a Tuesday in April and I’ve got energy to waste – about Pittsburgh moving up, it’d likely be for one of two players: Ohio State OT Paris Johnson or Georgia OT Broderick Jones. Those are the two who make sense.

Ideally, Johnson would be the guy, this year’s top tackle and clear blindside protector. He checks all the Steelers’ boxes. But it would cost a pretty penny to go get him, potentially trading well into the top 10, and it just isn’t a likely scenario.  Jones is more plausible, perhaps requiring a jump of only a handful of spots. He lacks great experience, a 1 1/2 year starter, but he had 15 of them in 2022 on the Bulldogs’ National Championship run so there’s a slightly more extensive look at him. Johnson and Jones are ideal blindside protectors with size and length, the latter of which Pat Meyer covets, to go along with the battle-tested Power 5 pedigree.

Any other trade-up option doesn’t pass the sniff test. The Steelers might really like Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. but in a CB-deep class, moving up to get him isn’t worth the justification unless the cost is unexpectedly cheap. With two more picks in the Top 50 past #17, the Steelers will have corner options. And anything else? It won’t be a wide receiver or a tight end or an interior lineman or a safety. Maybe you could argue a defensive lineman if Khan really wanted to make sure he got Clemson’s Bryan Bresee but that’s a stretch.

So will Khan move up? Only time will tell. Statistically speaking, odds are he’ll just stay at #17 but if you forced my hand and asked which way he would go – up or down – if he was going to move, I’d guess he’d trade up. He’s repeated his line about being aggressive this offseason and not being afraid to go after a player he and the organization like. And with picks #32 and #49, trading down isn’t that much of a benefit. The Steelers have enough Day Two picks. Sure, there’s a hole near the end of the draft, nothing in the fifth or sixth round, but moving down from #17 isn’t required to fill those gaps. That can be accomplished later in the draft.

If there’s a move to make, it’s hitting the elevator button up, not down. If there’s a position to target, it’s offensive tackle. If there’s specific names, it’s Paris Johnson or Broderick Jones.

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