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 if the Steelers trade up?

Talks have intensified in recent weeks that the Steelers are actively looking to move up into the top ten. With two second-round picks, they could afford to make such a move if there was a prospect they deemed worth the trade-up. They need an elite prospect, and trading up may be the only way to land one.

Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

The unquestioned top cornerback in this class, Christian Gonzalez is everything you want in an outside cornerback. He has the size and rare athleticism at the position that teams covet. He can hold his own in man coverage and has shown flashes in zone schemes, making him a versatile defender.

While Gonzalez may likely go too early if he slips into the latter portion of the top ten, the Steelers could make an aggressive move for him. They brought him in for a pre-draft visit, so the interest is there. Add in the inherent need for an upgrade at cornerback and the team could make a move for Gonzalez if he slips.

Jalen Carter, DL, Georgia

It hasn’t been a good pre-draft process for Jalen Carter so far. At one point in time, Carter appeared to be a slam-dunk top-three pick given his size and elite play against top competition. If it were all based on his tape, he would still be a top name, but an arrest and poor showing since have caused him to slip down boards.

Rumor has it that the Steelers are interested in moving up and acquiring the Georgia talent. Given their need along the defensive line, this makes sense. I would caution moving up for Carter though, as he seems like too big of a red flag to warrant the move up. That said, he could still seemingly be in play if he falls.

Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

If it were up to me, the only player I would be actively trying to trade up for is Paris Johnson. He has everything you want in a tackle, from perfect size to incredible length and tape to back it all up. He moved from guard to tackle, and there have been some learning curves in his game, but Johnson looks like a natural tackle.

While I do believe, in time, Georgia’s Jones could be the better-left tackle, Johnson has a much higher floor and isn’t far behind him in terms of a ceiling. Both could become top tackles if developed properly. He would be worth the move up, as the Steelers would be securing the top offensive lineman in the draft.

Next. 4 worst case scenarios for Steelers in 2023 NFL Draft. dark

There are countless ways the Steelers can move around in the first round. No matter how they move around, these prospects make the most sense depending on where they pick. They have options in this draft, and it seems likely that the team utilizes them.