Trading up doesn’t make sense for the Pittsburgh Steelers

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 14: Rashaan Evans
TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 14: Rashaan Evans /

What can the Pittsburgh Steelers get with the 22nd pick that they can’t get in the first two rounds? Nothing.

The only reason the Pittsburgh Steelers would consider moving up in the 2018 NFL Draft is to select an inside linebacker. Rashaan Evans or Leighton Vander Esch may not be around with the 28th pick. So, the only option to drafting a top prospect is by handing another team more value than your current pick.

None of it makes sense, though. Pittsburgh could use an inside linebacker with a strong ability to both cover the pass and stop the run. Evans and Vander Esc both offer both, but so does a line of second-round options.

If the Steelers weren’t to come up with an inside linebacker in the first-round, they can just wait. The No. 60 pick will provided options like Josey Jewell and Shaquem Griffin. Maybe they aren’t Evans or Vander Esch, but they’re certainly quality players.

These prospects can play behind Jon Bostic and provide exactly what Pittsburgh needs in the second line of defense. Working primarily in coverage, both Jewell and Griffin can take a larger workload in their rookie season.

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This removes the worry that Bostic will have to handle all the reps. Not being a strong coverage player, Bostic isn’t the answer to a new inside backer. They need to draft a rookie at the position, but that player doesn’t need to be an immediate superstar. All this rookie needs to be is a guy to play behind Bostic and add versatility to the position.

If this team wants to use a first-round pick on a linebacker, so be it. It’s not a bad move, and it fills one of the remaining voids in the defense. But giving up compensation for a player to be a second-stringer isn’t the move.

There’s a difference between Evans and Jewell. Evans can come in and change a defense immediately. But having Bostic and a second-round pick doesn’t leave a much bigger hole than having Bostic and Evans.

It’s just wasted value Pittsburgh would be giving up. Why spend more for a position loaded in this draft class? This team can find exactly what they’re looking for by waiting.

No one should really expect Pittsburgh to move up. Unless they have one guy much further up their draft board then the remaining first-rounders, the Steelers aren’t handing another team anything.

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Instead, they’re best bet is to sit back and wait. Something is going to come to them, and it’s going to add exactly what they need. Whether it’s at No. 22 or No. 28.