What Steelers fans should be hoping for well ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers are trending towards one of the highest draft choices in the 2023 NFL Draft. Here’s what fans should be hoping for. 

If there’s one thing we don’t like to see in football, it’s watching our team lose in the manner in which they have so far this season. For the first time since I can remember, the Pittsburgh Steelers simply are not a competitive football team. In fact, they have been flat-out bad this year.

We can find a way to look on the bright side in all of this. Fans still have something to root for with a rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett at the helm. We will eye his development as well as that of other promising players like George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth. However, it certainly seems like the Steelers are trending toward one of the top picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Again, this can be both good and bad — depending on how you look at it. It’s never easy to see your team struggle so hard, but at the same time, Pittsburgh probably needs one of these top draft choices. This season might be tough to stomach, but these are the things I believe Steelers fans should be rooting for when it comes to the 2023 NFL Draft.

Steelers fans shouldn’t want to win games we are supposed to lose

I know the logic on this one seems backward at first, but apart from maybe a temporary confidence boost, what good does it do for the Steelers to steal a few games this year they aren’t projected to win? If the Steelers fight and claw their way back near a .500 record (which I don’t see happening), real changes might not occur, and Mike Tomlin could be content to simply ‘run it back’ in 2023.

As hard as it is, Steelers fans should be rooting for young players to progress and perform well, but for Pittsburgh to receive one of the top draft choices this year — something they haven’t done naturally (without trading up) in decades. Picking much higher in each round will allow them to take talent that is never usually available to them. They’ve been picking on average in the 20s for far too long now, and they are long overdue for a true top pick.

Steelers should take the Eagles approach

With the help of now Steelers assistant GM Andy Weidl, the Philadelphia Eagles were able to build a roster that could compete for a Super Bowl — starting with perfecting the trenches. How were they able to do this? Really, it was by being willing to trade away players and move back in the draft to stockpile draft capital.

The Steelers should strongly consider doing something similar. Instead of trying to stay afloat year to year, it might finally be time to bite the bullet and stomach through a bad season where they can have good enough draft capital to trade back in April and pick up extra draft choices.

They may also want to consider trading away some veteran — players who won’t be pieces of the puzzle a year or two from now. These might be players who offer some appeal but are almost certain not to re-sign with the team when their contracts are up (like Chase Claypool and Larry Ogunjobi).

Turning players into draft picks at this point is more valuable than naively thinking this team can get back in the playoff race and compete for a Super Bowl this year.

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The sooner the Pittsburgh Steelers realize that their Super Bowl window won’t open again for a few more years, the sooner they can start making proactive moves to help themselves in the future. Hopefully, with Andy Weidl on board, this team can set themselves up for success down the line.