Steelers rumors: Pittsburgh could trade up into the top 10 picks in the NFL Draft

Steelers, NFL Draft
Steelers, NFL Draft / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

You might have heard rumors swirling that the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to jump inside the top 10 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. Before you brush them off completely, there might be more truth to this than you realize, and when we take a step back to examine the reasoning, it all makes sense.

Recently, NFL Draft analyst Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports talked about the possibility of a trade-up and noted that that's it's more than just smoke.

""There's definitely some truth there, from what I've heard. It's more than just smoke." "

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports

Wilson was referencing a possible trade involving the Steelers and the Bears, in which Pittsburgh would offer a package to move from pick 17 up to pick 9. To get the job done, Omar Khan would likely have to throw in the 32nd overall pick for a jump like this.

This rumored potential trade would likely be for offensive tackle, Paris Johnson Jr., and it makes sense as to why. The Steelers have been heavily scouting the top offensive tackles in the 2023 draft class and Johnson is at the top of their list. Pittsburgh's brass had a dinner meeting with him at Ohio State's Pro Day (which is always a great indicator of their interests).

Steelers have their eye on Paris Johnson Jr.

This certainly wouldn't be the first time the Pittsburgh Steelers have traded up in the first round of the NFL Draft. Back in 2019, they moved from pick 20 to pick 10 to acquire LB Devin Bush. This obviously proved to be a mistake, but they have shown that they will be aggressive if there's a player they like enough.

Of course, Kevin Colbert is now gone and the front office is run by GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl. They may prove to have a different philosophy on draft day. Weidl has shown that he is okay with trading back and adding more picks -- something the Steelers have rarely done over the years. However, just two years ago with the Eagles, he traded up with the divisional rival Dallas Cowboys to secure WR DeVonta Smith.

With where they are sitting, it's entirely possible that the top three offensive tackles and top three cornerbacks could be wiped out before Pittsburgh is on the clock. A proactive move like this would allow them to secure the player they've had their eyes set on.

Personally, I would love to have either Johnson or Georgia OT Broderick Jones, and I don't know if the Steelers would need to move up this far in the draft to secure one of them. However, it's very possible that they like Johnson much better thanks to his remarkable length (36 1/8'' arms, 85 1/8'' wingspan) and experience. Length at offensive tackle is a trait that Weidl has clearly made a priority since busting on Andre Dillard in the first round with the Eagles back in 2019.

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There's little doubt that Paris Johnson Jr. will be gone before the Steelers are on the clock, and with an extra second-round pick this year, Pittsburgh could return the favor from the Chase Claypool trade with the Bears and move back up for the player they have their heart set on.