Roman Wilson was nearly drafted long before Steelers were on the clock at pick 84

Bowling Green v Michigan
Bowling Green v Michigan / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages

At the rate that wide receivers were flying off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft, it's a wonder that the Pittsburgh Steelers even had a shot at Roman Wilson in the third round. This almost wasn't the case, and one team nearly took him at the top of the third round.

The New York Jets released video footage of GM Joe Douglas relentlessly working the phones on Day 2 of the NFL Draft -- trying to trade up into the second round for a wide receiver. The target was Western Kentucky's Malachi Corley. However, the footage proved that the Jets were also considering Michigan WR Roman Wilson.

After Douglas' trade offers to jump into the second round were turned down, he was ultimately able to execute a deal with the Carolina Panthers for the top pick in the third round. With that selection, the Jets turned their card in for Corley. Had Corley been off the board, Wilson would have been their pick.

Steelers were extremely fortunate to land Roman Wilson in the draft

The Pittsburgh Steelers can thank their lucky stars that Malachi Corley was still on the board for the New York Jets with the 65th overall pick. Roman Wilson was nearly drafted 20 picks ahead of Pittsburgh in Round 3, and it's a minor miracle that he was available with the 84th overall pick.

Had Wilson been off the board, you could argue that there was a notable tier gap in talent to the next best available wide receivers. The two receivers selected just after Wilson in the third round were Jalen McMillan and Luke McCaffrey. McMillian was the third receiver on a talented Washington offense in 2023, while many viewed McCaffrey as a fourth or fifth-round talent.

With a run on receivers early in the draft, it's remarkable that Wilson was still there for Pittsburgh at pick 84 in the third round. Before the draft, many NFL Draft experts had a second-round grade on Wilson, putting him in the same tier as players like Xavier Legette and Ricky Pearsall. Remarkably, Legette and Pearsall wound up as first-round picks.

By the 37th overall pick in the draft, a whopping 10 receivers had already been drafted, and it looked like the Steelers were going to have to take a wide receiver in Round 2 if they wanted one who could make a difference as a rookie.

When Wilson eventually slid to pick 84, the Steelers rushed to turn their card in for him. Wilson became the 14th receiver selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he was much higher on draft boards than where he landed.

According to NFL Mock Draft Database, Wilson was the 52nd overall player in the draft. On Marcus Mosher's Draft Expert Consensus Board (which averages the rankings of the top NFL Draft experts in the business) Wilson was the 46th overall player entering the draft.

While we still need to see how this plays out, it's safe to call Roman Wilson a steal for Pittsburgh based on where he was selected. With the Jets nearly taking him much earlier, fans should be thrilled that he was still on the board for the Steelers at pick 84 in the third round.