Truthfully, there’s no way of knowing how the Pittsburgh Steelers should approach the 2019 NFL Draft until after Antonio Brown has been traded.
If Antonio Brown is headed to another NFL team this offseason it’s likely going to be before the NFL Draft. Teams will need to give up a good chunk of change for the wide out, but that cost is cut drastically by adding a valuable first-round pick.
Meaning teams are going to jump on board the Brown negotiations while they still have draft picks to work with. A talented 22-year-old may have more years left, but no receiver in college is going to meet Brown’s impact for years, making the decision easy if you’re in the market for a pass catcher.
This is effecting the Steelers’ draft board. Right now, many assume the first pick in their draft will be defense. Either a cornerback, inside linebacker or edge rusher are the projected first-round picks for Pittsburgh.
From there, no one really knows. It’s easy to say Brown gets traded and they spend a second or third-round pick on a wide receiver. It’s also easy to say they spend their first three rounds securing the three positions listed above and saying JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Ryan Switzer are a solid three-set. It’s also easy to say Brown isn’t being traded.
Right now, anything is possible. A week ago everyone was convinced Brown was on his way out and the Steelers were going to take whatever they could get to trade him. Now, despite continued antics by Brown and constant headlines surrounding the situation, people aren’t totally positive the team is going to deal him.
Until a decision is made around the direction Pittsburgh is going to go with Brown, they can’t fully assess their draft plans. With three pressing needs, a likely concern for a backup tight end and possibly a new wideout, saying they’re capable of putting together a plan for draft night is impossible.
Firs thing is first and it starts with trading, or not trading, Antonio Brown. Until that decision is made, the Steelers aren’t capable of moving past the first-round in their draft planning. As the days move closer, it’s an issue that’s becoming more and more vital.