Best-case trade-up scenario for Steelers during the NFL Draft

Pittsburgh's best-case trade-up finds sweet spot where value and positional need meet.
2018 NFL Draft
2018 NFL Draft / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

In many ways, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to remain the same following the Kevin Colbert era as general manager. The team philosophy of running the football and playing great defense is something that will never change as long as Mike Tomlin is around. But Omar Khan and Andy Weidl are going to be very different in some ways as the new heads of the front office.

One of those ways is getting aggressive with trades during the NFL Draft. In their first season as GM and assistant GM, Khan and Weidl made four trades during the 2023 draft. They moved up in the first round for Broderick Jones, moved back in the third round to pick up a fourth-round pick (which was used to draft Nick Herbig), traded away Kevin Dotson, and traded away Kendrick Green.

While I think it's unwise to expect this much movement in the draft every year, trades are something that the Steelers have executed as frequently as anyone since the new regime took over. We could see this in action on the first day of the NFL Draft.

Khan showed the willingness to get aggressive for the player he wants, and he did just that when he moved up for Jones. A trade-up seems possible again this April. Here are the best-case trade-up scenarios for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Steelers trade-up Fuaga

Steelers best-case trade-up scenario involves moving up for Taliese Fuaga

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of pressing needs entering the NFL Draft, but there's a sweet spot where the need also lines up with BPA (best player available) at a 'money' position. Offensive tackle is one of those needs, and Taliese Fuaga would be the prize possession.

The Steelers need a great right tackle who will allow Broderick Jones to kick back over to his more natural position at left tackle. The prospects they have eyed heavily are Amarius Mims and JC Latham. Both of these powerful offensive tackles will be drafted in the first round, but Latham has questions about whether he would be best as a guard and Mims has concerns due to injuries and a lack of college snaps.

If the Steelers want to get a right tackle who is far less likely to bust, they could trade up for Fuaga. The Oregon State product has been outstanding each of the past two seasons and his best play came in 2023. Fuaga has an excellent bend of size and power with remarkable quickness for a player his size. He also has a nasty steak that could make him one of the best pass protectors at his position in the NFL.

Fuaga is currently the 14th overall player on NFL Mock Draft Database's consensus board, and he has been most frequently mocked to the Las Vegas Raiders at pick 13. From pick 20, this is too high for Khan to trade up for a tackle (especially considering there could be some quality tackle prospects still on the board when they are picking).

However, if Fuaga starts to slip a bit in the draft, the Steelers could pounce. It's interesting to note that teams like the Cowboys, Jaguars, Bengals, and Buccaneers have each met with Fuaga (in addition to Pittsburgh). These are all teams drafting in the same range as the Steelers.

This could mean that, instead of trading up ahead of the Raiders to pick 13, the Steelers may be able to land Fuaga by getting ahead of the Jaguars at pick 17.

Sitting at pick 16 are the Seattle Seahawks who already have two young starting offensive tackles and have expressed no interest in Fuaga of the top tackle prospects this year. They could be willing to move back four spots to pick up some extra draft capital.

A trade-up of 3-4 spots isn't going to break the bank for the Steelers, but it could certainly be worth it if they land a high-floor, high-ceiling player like Taliese Fuaga. At the cost of perhaps one of Pittsburgh's third-round picks, Omar Khan could land an excellent offensive tackle prospect to pair with Broderick Jones for the foreseeable future. This is the Steelers' best-case trade-up scenario during the 2024 draft.