The best-case scenario for the Steelers in the NFL Draft

The Steelers could go in numerous directions in Round 1, but here is the best-case scenario for Pittsburgh in the draft.
Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers
Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

The NFL Draft is getting closer and closer, and as it continues to creep closer, the number of mock drafts being pumped out continues to rise. There are many differing opinions on the Steelers, as some believe they should go tackle, others say wide receiver, some say center, and some even say defense.

However, one thing is certain and that is that the Steelers have a multitude of needs. The team must not force a selection to fill a need and must be open to different strategies.

The Steelers should trade back in Round 1

As previously mentioned, the Steelers have numerous holes to fill, as they are extremely thin at wide receiver, need to upgrade at both center, and offensive tackle, and could even use some help at cornerback, and on the defensive line. This is not to say that the team could not use help at other positions as well, but these are the needs that the team needs to fill the most.

Clearly, with several needs to fill, trading back in the first round should be on the table. Trading back would allow the Steelers to attain additional draft capital to help fill out the needs on their roster, and with no player seeming like a must-have match made in heaven right now, adding additional capital would be beneficial.

Not only do the Steelers have several needs to fill, but several of those needs are in the starting lineup. The Steelers need to find someone to start at wide receiver, center, and offensive tackle. While they may not start right out of the gate, the team has a glaring need at those positions, and ideally, they need to select a player who can come in and start at those positions at some point this year.

While it isn't impossible to find starters at any point in the draft, accumulating additional capital in the earlier portion of the draft gives the Steelers a better shot at finding Day 1 starters at each of the positions they are weak at. Not to say that they have to use those picks on those positions, because trading back also makes taking the best player available easier, because it strengthens the roster, while still having the fallback of additional picks to address their needs.

Omar Khan showed last year that he is willing to make an aggressive move, by trading up to acquire Broderick Jones, and has made three big trades this offseason. Since the team has shown a willingness to be aggressive under this regime, it would be prudent of them to gauge the interest of teams below them to trade up for their selection potentially.

Which teams could be interested in moving up in this range?

While trading back sounds great in theory, it takes two to tango. The Steelers first have to be willing to move back, but then they have to find a partner who is not only willing to move up in the draft, but also has draft capital that may entice the Steelers to make a move with them.

The Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Francisco 49ers are all teams that have first-round draft choices that could be willing to move up to number 20 overall.

Starting with the two teams who made the Super Bowl last year, the Chiefs and 49ers don't have tons of needs on their rosters, so moving a few picks to get up higher and secure a higher-end prospect could be something that these two teams are interested in.

While it is a deep wide receiver class this year, both teams could potentially be interested in moving up for a higher-end pass catcher, since Kansas City has a glaring need at the position; and San Francisco could be losing Brandon Aiyuk after this season. Additionally, San Francisco could be interested in moving up for a player like Amarius Mims or Tyler Guyton to have a redshirt year with their team, as Trent Williams is getting older and Colton McKivitz is on an expiring deal.

Arizona presents another intriguing option as they have picks 4, 27 and 35. This team is littered with needs and could go in any number of directions. Many believe they could look to trade back from 4 so a quarterback-needy team can move in and acquire a quarterback.

If they do this the team will have a litany of picks and could look to move around the draft board and potentially move up later in the first. If this is the case pick 20 could be an ideal landing spot for Arizona, and they would have plenty of draft capital to make a move easy to discuss.

Finally, the most intriguing trade-back scenario is with the Buffalo Bills. After trading Stefon Diggs, the Bills have a glaring need at wide receiver, and while the class is deep, the team needs a number one option and may feel moving up for one is their best bet. The team is picking at 28th overall and now possesses two second-round draft choices, so they would be an ideal trade partner for the Steelers to gain additional capital, while also having a logical desire to move up to 20 themselves.

Trading back is by no means a guarantee, but with so many players that could be fits for the Steelers, and the team having a multitude of needs, moving back should be on the table this year. Players rise and fall on the boards every year, you never know, maybe one of the players the team is linked to at 20 may even still be on the board at the pick they'd now possess.

Adonai Mitchell, Graham Barton, Cooper DeJean, Amarius Mims, Jackson Powers-Johnson, and others have all been linked to the Steelers at number 20. Selecting any of them has its benefits, so why not move back, gain some extra picks, and hopefully still be able to pick one of the players on your radar?