Following a rather busy offseason that saw the Pittsburgh Steelers make a number of additions to the roster, the 2023 NFL Draft is shaping up to potentially be a rather aggressive one for GM Omar Khan, assistant GM Andy Weidl and the Black and Gold.
According to ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay, the Steelers have contacted the Chicago Bears at No. 9 and the Tennessee Titans at No. 11 about trading up in the first round draft so that the Steelers can land a coveted offensive tackle, presumably Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr.
“I’ve heard Pittsburgh has contacted multiple teams, including the Bears (No. 9) and Titans (No. 11), about trading up for an offensive tackle,” McShay writes in a piece Monday for ESPN.com detailing the latest draft buzz he’s heard. “The Steelers need a long-term answer as protection for Kenny Pickett, and there are three potential cornerstone left tackles in this class who will be available in that range. It wasn’t that long ago that Pittsburgh moved up in Round 1 and took linebacker Devin Bush, and we could see a similar move this year, albeit for a different position.”
As the draft draws closer, rumors of a potential trade up for the Steelers continues to gain steam.
Previously, NBC Sports’ Peter King wrote that the Steelers were eyeing a trade up to No. 9 overall with the Bears to grab Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Now, McShay is stating that the Steelers are looking to move up for an offensive tackle.
Based on the offseason to date for the Steelers under Khan and Weidl, an aggressive move to get a guy they covet wouldn’t be a surprise. Pittsburgh took Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones to dinner ahead of the Ohio State Pro Day — along with Johnson’s long-time personal offensive line coach and trainer Willie Anderson, a former NFL offensive tackle with Cincinnati and Baltimore — and had a large contingent present at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day. It included Khan, head coach Mike Tomlin, Vice President of Player Personnel Dan Rooney Jr., and offensive line coach Pat Meyer.
Of course, Pittsburgh also got a good look at Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones and sent Meyer to Northwestern’s Pro Day to see Peter Skoronski in person.
Offensive tackle remains a big need for the Steelers entering the second season of the Kenny Pickett era. If the Steelers want to protect their franchise quarterback moving forward that includes addressing offensive tackle and upgrading on one of Dan Moore Jr. or Chukwuma Okorafor early in the 2023 NFL Draft.