The Pittsburgh Steelers capital for the 2023 NFL Draft just got a bit richer in Week 9, but will it stay that way when the season ends?
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have had a bye in Week 9, but that doesn’t mean that the results of other games couldn’t help increase their protected capital in the 2023 NFL Draft. For the first time in forever, the Steelers could be looking at three picks inside the top 40 this year.
On Sunday, I was intensely rooting for a Chicago Bears loss. Pittsburgh shockingly traded WR Chase Claypool just hours before the deadline, and they received Chicago’s original second-round pick in the process. Because of this, how they perform could be huge for the Steelers when April rolls around.
In Week 9, the Bears put up an excellent fight at home against the Miami Dolphins; however, it wasn’t enough to pull off the upset win. Because of this, Pittsburgh’s second-round pick just got a bit more valuable. Before Week 9, the pick acquired from Chicago would have been good for 43rd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. If the season were to end today, that pick would be 39th overall, according to Tankathon.
This might not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but this positioning could really matter. For instance, if the Bears were to go on a late-season win streak, this could be the difference between picking in the late-30s or the early 50s. Essentially, this newly acquired pick by the Steelers could almost act like a late-first-round pick, depending on how Chicago does the rest of the way.
Where will Steelers draft capital wind up?
Right now, the Steelers would have the 4th, 35th, and 39th picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. You had better believe that this is enough elite draft capital to help turn the team around in a hurry. While many fans are rooting for Pittsburgh to go on a win streak in the second half of the season to make the games a bit more enjoyable, this could really wind up hurting their draft capital.
If this were to happen, their original picks could fall way back in the draft — which increases the likelihood of missing out on top-end talent or busting on these picks altogether. Obviously, their scouting department still needs to get it right, but it’s much easier to hit when you are picking this high.
We know that the Steelers won’t be favored in many games for the rest of the season, and unless they make big improvements, it’s possible that they only win a couple more games by the end of the season. Even that, however, could be enough to play themselves out of a top-five pick.
The Bears, meanwhile, have some very winnable contests on the horizon as they will play the Lions and Falcons next in back-to-back weeks. Though they won’t be favored against teams like the Eagles, Bills, and Vikings, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for them to steal a win here. They will also play the Jets, Packers, and Lions a second time late in the season.
We hate to root for the demise of the Steelers, but it’s really easy to root for the Chicago Bears to lose football games knowing that Pittsburgh owns their second-round pick. Right now, Omar Khan and Andy Weidl would have elite draft capital to work with in 2023, but we will see if it stays that way.