Steelers should call the Patriots about OLB Chase Winovich right now

New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich (50). Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich (50). Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

The Patriots are rumored to be having a fire sale, and the Steelers need to call and inquire about a trade for OLB Chase Winovich.

Looking back on the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s certainly hard to complain about what the Steelers did. Though we will have to take a ‘wait and see’ approach before we will know how players like Benny Snell, Justin Layne, and Ulysees Gilbert will turn out, it appears that Pittsburgh hit on players like Devin Bush and Diontae Johnson.

One player I was extremely high on throughout the draft process was Michigan pass rusher, Chase Winovich. During his final two seasons for the Wolverines, Winovich combined for a whopping 34.5 tackles for a loss and 13.5 sacks, according to Pro Football Reference.

But he wasn’t just a productive player. In addition to being one of the nation’s leaders in tackles behind the line of scrimmage, Winovich also turned heads with his eye-popping numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.59), the 3-cone drill (6.94), and the 20-yard shuttle (4.11). Each of these numbers put him at or above the 90th percentile of all NFL edge defenders, according to Mockdraftable, and his speed and acceleration showed up on tape.

Recently, Dov Kleiman reported that the New England Patriots are having a ‘fire sale’ and they have told teams they will listen to trade on “almost anyone.”

Why the Steelers should make a move for Winovich

New England’s willingness to clean house should have 31 general managers giving the Patriots a call. Kevin Colbert should get on the phone right now and inquire about Chase Winovich.

Winovich was originally drafted in the third round in 2019 – right between the Diontae Johnson and Justin Layne picks for the Steelers. So far, Winovich has earned 8.0 sacks in his first 22 NFL games despite just 5 starts under his belt in New England. In addition, he earned an impressive grade from Pro Football Focus during his rookie season.

After showing a lot of promise early in his NFL career, it’s hard to believe that the Patriots would be willing to part with him, but according to the reports, pretty much everyone is on the block – including 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore.

While the Steelers may not have a huge need for a player like Winovich at the moment, they certainly will soon enough. Bud Dupree has been terrific for Pittsburgh this year, but there is zero chance they will be able to retain him beyond the 2020 season.

The Steelers won’t have much money to work with next season, so they will likely be forced to spend a draft choice to replace Dupree on the roster. Trading for a promising player like Chase Winovich could help the team avoid potential trouble filling Dupree’s shoes. Not only will the former Michigan Wolverine be able to carve a significant role, but he would also be the front-runner to lock down the right edge defender job after Dupree is gone.

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Both Dupree and Ola Adeniyi will be unrestricted free agents after the 2020 season, and the Steelers will want to be able to maintain their defensive intensity for years to come. Trading for a player like Chase Winovich would be a smart, proactive move, and it wouldn’t cost them more than a 3rd or 4th round pick.