Breaking down every route Steelers could take in the 1st round of the NFL Draft

Georgia tight end Darnell Washington (0)
Georgia tight end Darnell Washington (0) / Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK
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What happens if the Steelers trade back from pick 17?

If I had to assume, the Steelers will trade up before they trade down from pick 17, as it seems like they are targeting a top tackle. If they don’t move up, it likely means that there is a player at 17 that they wanted. If they decide to trade back, they could still land some interesting talent.

Lukas Van Ness, DL, Iowa

One of the most interesting fits for the Steelers in this draft, Lukas Van Ness has all of the check marks you look for in a potential top pick. Mike Tomlin and company were present at his pro day and he fits the athletic mold of what this team looks for. He can slim down and play edge or could bulk up and play defensive end.

With questions about where you play him, Van Ness wouldn’t be my choice at pick 17. That said, moving back a few spots and then grabbing Van Ness would be fine. He could take his rookie season to be a rotational player as he, hopefully, bulks up to play at defensive end. Nabbing him and some extra resources would be a fine move.

Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

One of the biggest winners from the Combine, Deonte Banks has the tape of a solid prospect but tested off the charts as an athlete. He has the size you want in an outside cornerback even if he lacks the refinement of a true top prospect.

I wouldn’t take Banks at pick 17, but landing him via a small trade back would be fine. If the top cornerbacks are off the board, Banks would be a fine consolation prize in the early 20s. A small move back would still land the Steelers a top developmental cornerback to add to this secondary.

Brian Branch, DB, Alabama

On the surface, I struggle with the idea of using a first-round pick on Brian Branch. While he would have a very defined role early on in his career and he seems to have a pretty high floor, I’m not confident a role player like himself is worth a first-round pick, especially at 17th overall.

Branch will be a good slot defender and a chess piece as a safety. Unfortunately, he struggles when playing deep and doesn’t have the body of a traditional strong safety. That makes him a slot-only starter, and I struggle to value that high in the first round. That said, getting some additional compensation for him would make selecting him in the first more palatable.

Bryan Bresee, DE, Clemson

From one of the biggest risers to one of the bigger fallers, Bryan Bresee was at one time amongst the top defensive linemen in this class. Despite his lackluster college production, he flashed dominance at times and could develop into one of the best defensive linemen in the league.

The Steelers have been all over Bresee to this point, heavily attending the Clemson pro day and speaking to him multiple times. He is raw as a prospect, but he could grow into a starting role for this defense in time. Drafting him and netting a few extra picks would be worth it for this team.