Steelers Draft Day Hypotheticals takes a look at potential situations that could affect the Pittsburgh Steelers draft strategy and selections.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have rarely possessed more than one first-round pick. It has only happened twice in their history, once in 1956 when they selected safety Gary Glick, and halfback Art Davis and again in 1989 when they took running back Tim Worley, and offensive tackle Tim Ricketts. It appears, however, that it is a real possibility this offseason with the pending trade request of star wideout, Antonio Brown. I would like to take a look at the changes to the Steelers draft strategy that could result from such a trade.
The first and biggest change that would likely result in the team’s approach would be a shift in team needs. If/when Brown is traded, wide receiver becomes a big concern for the team. They do have JuJu Smith-Schuster around, and James Washington will hopefully see a bigger role but the Steelers can’t be comfortable without adding to their receiving corps. I, however, don’t think it has to be a round-one concern. The team could fall in love with a player like Marquise Brown out of Oklahoma, or Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf but the wide receiver class this offseason should have a lot of fantastic options in the second and third rounds, like Riley Ridley, A.J. Brown, and N’Keal Harry.
Pittsburgh would be allowed a little more flexibility early on with another top selection. If the team has a need that they feel must be addressed in the early rounds adding another selection will give them another opportunity to plug that hole. If a player like T.J. Hockenson is available with the twentieth pick they would have an easier time pulling the trigger despite tight end not being at the top of their early round needs.
A first-round with two selections would be an amazing opportunity for the team despite all they would have to give up to make it happen. They could see it as an opportunity to really solve some issues on the defense by making two selections on that side of the ball. They could look to Marquise Brown to add an explosive element to their offense or a top tight end like Hockenson, Noah Fant or Irv Smith Jr. to add a matchup nightmare for the opposition all while still adding the defensive piece many keep projecting for them. It would even make it a lot easier to justify selecting a quarterback of the future if the team isn’t sold on the guys they already have.
Teams in the NFL are always looking to make their rosters younger and adding early draft picks is the best way to do it. To get a second, first-rounder the Steelers will have to give up a lot, but it would also open up a lot of options for the team and make them a lot more flexible heading into the draft. Antonio Brown has provided a lot for the Steelers organization and I will be sad to see him go, but this could be one of the most exciting drafts for Pittsburgh in a long time.