Steelers rumors: Trade-up for Broderick Jones didn't mess up the Jets' draft plans

Steelers, Robert Saleh
Steelers, Robert Saleh / Elsa/GettyImages

One of the biggest stories around the Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase as of late invloved the decision to trade-up for Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones. Sitting at pick 17 overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, general manager Omar Khan decided to get aggressive and leapfrog the New York Jets to make sure the could get they guy they had their hearts set on.

The decision to do so had many believing that Jets executives were sitting in their war room dumbfounded as they were on the clock. As time ticked down, they decided to go with Iowa State pass rusher, Will McDonald IV.

Most believed that the Steelers would have never been able to land Jones in the first round had it not been for New York's decision to trade for Aaron Rodgers. As part of the deal, the Jets swapped first-round picks with the Packers -- moving back from pick 13 to pick 15 overall.

This was believed to be just the move the Steelers needed in order to get ahead of the Jets. Any higher and we are talking about Khan giving up Pittsburgh's third round pick and potentially more -- something he would have been unlikely to do.

However, while multiple NFL scouts and executives insistented that the Steelers poached the player the Jets wanted at pick 15 one spot ahead of them, that might not have been the case at all. Recently, Jets head coach Robert Saleh told NFL Network's Rich Eisen that McDonald would have been their pick even if they stayed at pick 13.

“The difference between 13 and 15 in the way everything shook out made no difference to us,” Saleh said via the Rich Eisen Show.

Did the Steelers actually poach Broderick Jones from the Jets?

It's very possible that the Saleh and the Jets wanted Will McDonald all along. They had a big need for an edge defender and getting a five-year college player who can come in and start right away may have been intriguing to them now that they are in an immediate window with Aaron Rodgers in town.

I did hear a Steelers rumor prior to the draft that the Jets liked Darnell Wright a lot, but were not interested in taking Broderick Jones in the first round. This would seem to line up with what played out. Jones was just a one-year starter, and perhaps the Jets didn't want a player they didn't feel wasn't ready to start for them from day one -- considering they have a 39-year-old quarterback.

At the same time, it's always difficult to take coaches and executives at their word when there could be different conversations going on behind the scenes. What is Saleh supposed to say? 'The Steelers took the guy we wanted and we didn't know what to do'?

I do believe that there is some truth to this Steelers rumor and to the response Saleh had for Rich Eisen. It's not all that surprising. Bad franchises make dumb choices in the NFL Draft every year, so it's not out of the ordinary.

Next. Draft superlatives for Steelers impressive 2023 class. dark

Regardless of whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to move up to get him, fans should be okay with the decision to get aggressive in securing Broderick Jones. At the cost of swapping firsts and giving up just an additional fourth-round pick, this is a decision I would make every day if there was even a thought that the team behind me was going to take the player I loved.