The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to score a high draft pick for Chase Claypool before the trade deadline. Here’s who deserves the credit for the trade.
Just hours before the NFL trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Steelers dealt wide receiver Chase Claypool in what was a very surprising move. Though there had been rumblings about a potential Claypool trade for weeks, most played it off as nothing more than smoke and rumors. However, some of us are still in shock that this actually got done.
There were reports that the Steelers wanted at least a second-round draft choice in return for the third-year wide receiver, and at the end of the day, that’s what they ultimately got. This exceeded my expectations. Claypool is having his worst season in his third year, and despite entering the final year of his deal in 2023, the Chicago Bears were willing to part with a second-round pick.
It gets better. Initially, it was thought that Pittsburgh was going to receive the second-round pick acquired by the Bears from the Ravens in the Roquan Smith trade. However, this is not the case. With rumors that the Packers were also in the running for Claypool, Chicago was forced to sweeten the deal — giving up their original second-round draft choice, ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed.
Why the difference in compensation is important for Steelers
A second-round pick is a second-round pick, right? Not exactly. While the difference between getting the Ravens second-round pick and the Bears second-round pick might seem minuscule, it’s actually quite significant.
If the season were to end today, the Bears second-round pick acquired by the Ravens would be the 57th overall pick in the draft; whereas the pick they sent the Steelers would be the 43rd overall pick, according to Tankathon. This is a drastic difference, and quite honestly, the gap between these two picks could grow even further apart. If the Bears start losing more football games down the stretch, this could go from the 43rd pick to potentially (and realistically) a top-38 pick. Meanwhile, Baltimore is on track to make the playoffs, and if they make a push in the post-season, this pick could get even worse.
It’s also worth throwing out there that the Miami Dolphins had their first-round pick forfeited for tampering violations. This means that if Chicago’s original second-round pick winds up being the 40th overall pick, the Steelers will actually have the 39th selection.
Why are these numbers important? Though the difference in selections might seem insignificant, I could mean the difference between finding a start early in the second round as opposed to maybe a 3-4 year starter in the late second. Obviously, this isn’t guaranteed to be the case, and it will still come down to quality scouting.
The good news is that with three draft picks potentially inside the top 43 this year (including a potential top-5 pick) the Pittsburgh Steelers will have ample flexibility to move around in the draft or trade back. New assistant GM Andy Weidl has experience doing exactly that for the Eagles, and with the high selections, the 2023 NFL Draft will have a chance to be one of the best for this team in a decade.