With the Steelers showcasing a clear interest in a quarterback in this upcoming draft class, here are four trade scenarios that could land the team a passer.
The Steelers are obviously targeting a quarterback in this draft class, as they have been all over them in the pre-draft process. Unfortunately, picking at 20th overall in the first round will likely hamper their options in terms of landing a top prospect.
That said, I have researched and devised four potential trades that could land the team a quarterback in the first round.
Steelers have made their interest obvious
The Steelers have become an easy team to figure out when it comes to top picks. They make their intentions obvious leading up to the draft and rarely throw a curveball. Think about Najee Harris last season, or even Devin Bush from a few years before. Both had Pittsburgh’s handprints all over them before they ultimately wound up being taken by the team.
The Steelers are once again not hiding their interest heading up to the draft. With the pro day circuit well underway, the team has been spotted at just about every major quarterback’s pro day. Almost always the team selects a player from where they sent Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert to before the draft.
Unless the team is settling for a Georgia or Clemson product (college teams that have a wealth of pro talent and almost always see the Steelers scout heavily), quarterback is the primary target this year. In order to get one, the odds are you will have to move up. With that all said, here are four realistic trade scenarios for the Steelers to land a quarterback in this draft.
Steelers trade scenario #1
The first one is the most obvious and, likewise, the most expensive. There are two teams in the top ten that seemingly don’t need a quarterback and may want to move back. Both also just so happen to be from New York. The first pick in question is the Jets, who possess both the fourth and tenth overall picks in the first round.
If the Steelers want to have their pick at quarterback, they will have to move ahead of the Panthers at pick six. The Jets would accomplish that, and more than likely the team would have their choice of either Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis. If the team has a clear choice between the two, they will have to be aggressive in the move up.
The compensation is a lot. Frankly, it has to be. The Steelers lose both their first this year and next as well as their second-round pick this season. In return, the Jets move back 16 spots and also throw in a fifth-round pick on top of the deal. The cost is heavy, but if the team genuinely believes that either Pickett or Willis is a top prospect, it will be a move that they have to make.
Steelers trade scenario #2
Trading that high with the Jets will ensure that the team gets their pick at quarterback. An equally realistic scenario is that the Steelers are comfortable with either of the top quarterbacks in the class. This opens the door for a more flexible trade partner in the other New York team, as the Giants will also likely try to move back this year as they have two picks in the top seven of the draft.
This trade would break down as so: Pittsburgh has a similar grade between Pickett and Willis, and after the Panthers take whoever to be their franchise passer, the Steelers look to jump the Seahawks and Falcons, who will certainly be targeting franchise passers. If the team wants one of the two top guys, they will need to have a pick before seventh overall.
This trade is a bit less expensive as a result of waiting two spots. The Giants move back 13 spots in exchange for a first-round pick next year. While losing your first-round pick is tough in a trade, having the ability to select one of the top two prospects will require an aggressive move like that. You have a little less flexibility, but you still get to land a top quarterback in the draft.
Steelers trade scenario #3
Perhaps a move-up that far in the first is not in the cards, or maybe the Steelers have their interest in another, less touted quarterback. They could sit pat through the top ten and wait to see what players end up falling. Odds seem high that Pickett and Willis will both be off the board within the top-15 picks in the draft, but after that, the quarterback field seems wide open.
A name that is clearly on the Steelers radar is Matt Corral, as the team was present at Ole Miss’s pro day for him. His value seems to be somewhere in the second half of the first round, and the team may feel comfortable with him as their franchise passer. That said, assuming Corral made it past the first 15 picks, the Saints could be all over him just two picks ahead of Pittsburgh. Thus, a smaller trade-up would mean ensuring Corral is taken.
This move is far less expensive than the major trade-ups already projected. The Chargers have the pick before the Saints, and if Corral is there, they would be the trade target. They move back three spots and pick up the Steelers third-round pick. This would be a logical trade-up if they wanted to ensure Corral is the pick. A third-round pick is valuable but landing who you want at quarterback is more important.
Steelers trade scenario #4
A trade-up in the first isn’t the only way the Steelers can land a franchise passer. While the top two are set and Corral seems like a comfortable third, the other three quarterbacks in this class will be jostling for position after that. Perhaps the team willingly misses out on the top three quarterbacks in order to save draft picks. They can still get a quarterback in the first and acquire some additional picks.
While the other three top names, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell, and Carson Strong, could all go in the first, odds are the three are available late on day one and into day two. Pittsburgh could move back, acquire other picks, and still get a quarterback with five years of control on their contract.
Who would make sense to move up? The Chiefs seemingly would, as they are now desperate for some receiver help after trading Tyreek Hill away. They package pick 30 and 62 in order to jump receiver-hungry teams such as the Packers, Patriots, and Bills. They land a top receiver while the Steelers move back into the late first round. This results in one of the next three quarterbacks still coming to Pittsburgh as well as an additional second-round pick to help fill out the roster.
While it is far too early to tell what the Steelers will do in the draft trade-wise, it seems certain quarterback is the top target. Luckily for them, there are quite a few realistic routes that allow them to land their guy, whoever that may be.