The Steelers certainly don’t regret trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick last season, but here are three players they would have considered with the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Before you start getting upset, let me assure you that I am one hundred percent for the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade. The Steelers were able to land a 22-year old, blue-chip player who would become an All-Pro in his first season in Pittsburgh. However, it’s still interesting to think about who Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert would have drafted had they still owned the 18th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Miami Dolphins used that pick to address their offensive line and take USC tackle, Austin Jackson. Though I thought that was quite the reach for the 18th overall pick in the draft, Pittsburgh likely would have looked a different direction. Here are three players that would have been on Pittsburgh’s radar if they had their original first-round pick:
EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson, LSU
K’Lavon Chaisson was a freak athlete in college with underwhelming production, but he came on really strong towards the end of his junior season. Many believed that Chaisson’s floor in the draft was the Dallas Cowboys at pick 17 overall, but CeeDee Lamb fell into their lap at that spot. Chaisson ended up going 20th to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With Bud Dupree playing on the fifth-year option, Chaisson would have been an ideal selection for Pittsburgh with the 18th pick. He would begin his career as a rotational edge rusher and become a full-time starter by the start of his second season with Dupree hitting free agency.
WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Jalen Reagor is a player that the Steelers have shown interest in throughout the draft process, but was never a realistic possibility in the second round of the draft. Reagor ultimately ended up going to the Eagles just one pick after Chaisson (21st overall) in the first round.
For Pittsburgh, Reagor would have competed for offensive snaps from the gate and given the Steelers offense a boost in speed. He has perhaps more upside to become a true number one ‘X’ receiver than any player currently on their roster, and he would have made a ton of sense with this pick.
WR Justin Jefferson, LSU
Not straying far from their draft trends, LSU’s Justin Jefferson is another player the Steelers would have had a ton of interest in if they were drafting this high. Jefferson is a young, true junior with great athleticism and terrific production. He checks all the boxes Pittsburgh looks for at the position.
If drafted by the Steelers at pick 18, Jefferson would have the versatility to step on the football field right away in multiple receiver formations. Jefferson can win on both the inside and the outside and he would have been a versatile chess piece on offense and a player you don’t have to engineer targets for.
It’s hard to tell exactly what Pittsburgh would have done if they had still owned the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but these three players certainly would have been on their radar. Regardless, trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick proved to be the right move, and they were ultimately able to land an All-Pro safety with that selection.