3 players worth trading up to nab in Round 1 for the Steelers

Pittsburgh should trade up for one of these three players if they slip in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
University of Pittsburgh v University of Notre Dame
University of Pittsburgh v University of Notre Dame / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Fans have been counting down the days until the Pittsburgh Steelers make their first selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. After a forgettable five-year stretch to conclude Kevin Colbert's tenure as general manager, new GM Omar Khan inspired hope when he aggressively traded up for Georgia OT Broderick Jones in his first NFL Draft in charge of the front office.

This year, the Steelers have several glaring needs to address, and fans are interested to see which direction they go with the 20th overall pick. Based on their pre-draft visits, positions like offensive tackle, cornerback, center, and wide receiver all seem to be on the table in the first round.

We know from experience that the NFL Draft is impossible to predict, and there are sure to be a few surprising picks before the Steelers are on the clock. Some of these decisions could see talented players falling on draft day.

If this proves to be the case, Khan could be quick to pounce at the opportunity.

Trading up in the draft is something that several teams reserve only for quarterbacks or when the value is too irresistible to pass up. Here are three players worth trading up to nab in the 2024 draft.

Joe Alt, OT

For the record, I don't see this happening, but teams make some bizarre choices in the NFL Draft (we know that from experience). Joe Alt is one of the top overall players in the class -- regardless of position -- and the Pittsburgh Steelers just so happen to have a massive need for an offensive tackle to pair with Broderick Jones for the future.

Alt is widely expected to be the first tackle off the board, but this could come down to preference for some teams. With four quarterbacks and at least three receivers expected to go very early in the draft, Alt could slide outside of the top 10. If this happens, Omar Khan should be calling every team ahead of him about a possible trade-up.

Alt feels like one of the 'can't miss' prospects in this year's draft after he earned two seasons of fantastic grades at Notre Dame and was just 20 years old during the 2023 season. If the Steelers were willing to trade up to the 10th pick to grab a linebacker in 2019 (Devin Bush) they better be willing to move up for one of the best prospects in the class at a premium position.

Brock Bowers, TE

Normally, I would never condone trading up in the first round of a tight end, but I am a huge Brock Bowers fan. Bowers is more than just a tight end; he's a play-making weapon a team can funnel their offense through.

Thanks to his unmatched ability after the catch, Bowers should immediately raise the floor of an NFL offense he lands with. Bowers has the potential to slide on draft day as teams prioritize 'money' positions. The Bengals are one of the teams that will reportedly draft him if he's available at pick 18.

Bowers is a borderline top-5 overall player in the class. If the Steelers only have to move up 3-4 spots to land a generational tight end prospect, sign me up! This is today's NFL tight end, and he's going to be a star in the NFL for a long time.

Taliese Fuaga, OT

For the most part, the offensive tackles in the 2024 draft class are close enough that I wouldn't trade up for most of them. Outside of Joe Alt, Taliese Fuaga is the only other exception.

Some NFL Draft experts view Fuaga as a guard at the next level because of his lack of length (just 33 1/8'' arms). I don't see why he will need to make the move inside. Fuaga was remarkable at Oregon State in 2023 where he earned amazing PFF grades and his dominance on tape was easy to see.

For an offensive tackle who is 6'5 3/4'' and 324 pounds, Fuaga has incredible feet and bullish strength as a run blocker. He would be the perfect right tackle in Pittsburgh's wide zone offense and would allow Broderick Jones to move back over to left tackle in Year 2.