Trading Out of Round 1, Should the Steelers Consider Moving? Part II With Abridged Mock Draft Scenarios

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On Wednesday I discussed the possible directions that Pittsburgh could be compelled to go in during the 1st Round of next week’s N.F.L. Draft.  I figured that a short analysis regarding Pittsburgh’s options come this Thursday night was a good way to get the ball rolling as we enter Draft Week.  But even as I was typing and outlining the post, the thought of Pittsburgh not only trading down in Round 1 (or out of Round 1) really began to intrigue me.  Furthermore, the more I continue to think about the situation at hand and where Pittsburgh is drafting in Round 1, the more trading down in a few specific scenarios could be extremely beneficial to the Steelers.  So today I would like tack on to my Wednesday post and discuss the ins and outs of why trading down from #24 a viable option for Pittsburgh, which teams would provide the most logical trading partners, and finally I want to give you the readers a Steelers specific Mock Draft for each different scenario where Pittsburgh trades out of Round 1.


Why Could Pittsburgh Trade Down?

Now that Offensive Tackle Mike Adams’ positive marijuana test at The Combine has become public, and Mark Barron in my opinion is likely going in the neighborhood of Picks #14-#17 where Safety-needy Dallas, Philadelphia, New York (Jets), and Cincinnati pick, it seems that there is one player which should be in the neighborhood for Pittsburgh to take at #24: Dont’a Hightower.  And unless for some awesome reason Offensive Linemen Jonathan Martin or Cordy Glenn end up falling to Pittsburgh, Hightower on paper appears to be a safe and solid selection that Pittsburgh should go with in the 1st Round.

What if Hightower is not there or not the guy at #24? Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

Yet as much as I like Hightower the prospect, I do have one question: What if he is not the player Pittsburgh targets in Round 1 and is selected by somebody else?  Or, what if he is not the Inside Linebacker they want at all?  Pittsburgh did bring in Mychal Kendricks of California for a visit, and while Kendricks is a bit smaller, he is a more versatile player in terms of the time he spent at Outside Linebacker in college, and Kendricks played in a 3-4 system at California as well.  Granted, the Steelers might want to cover their bases by bringing in Kendricks in for a visit, but he is a prospect which could really help this team on the defensive side of the ball.

Also, what if Hightower is not around at #24 and the Steelers do in fact want him?  It is a viable question to ask, Baltimore could use a replacement for Ray Lewis down the road, and even the Giants or another team in early Round 2 with Inside Linebacker needs could consider going after Hightower and trading ahead of Pittsburgh.  Every Front Office with a need at Inside Linebacker which is coveting Hightower below Pittsburgh in Round 1 or early in Round 2 knows that it could be a risk to wait and see what the Steelers do, and might be willing to jump ahead of the Steelers to acquire him.  Even Brett Favre “fanboy” Peter King made reference to this happening in his most recent Mock Draft where he had Baltimore swapping picks with Detroit at #23 to acquire Hightower ahead of Pittsburgh.

If Pittsburgh has Hightower snatched from their grasp, or nobody like a Martin or a Glenn falls to them, the situation gets sort of murky when you look at the bottom of Round 1.  At that point the prospects which will likely be available do not fit the B.P.A + Position of Need mold for the Steelers as well as a Hightower or a Barron would.

Don’t get me wrong, there are/will be terrific players available.  Guys like Wide Receivers like Stephen Hill, who are talented but raw and probably two years from contributing significantly at the N.F.L. level.  Cornerback Janoris Jenkins will be around simply due to character concerns.  Plus, Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State could also be in play for a Quarterback hungry team looking to get back into Round 1 as well.

But at #24 though, there are a glut of players at two very important positions which could make the spot where Pittsburgh selects a hot-spot for trade-activity: Defensive Tackles galore in 4-3 systems like Devon Still, Jerel Worthy, Kendall Reyes, and possibly Michael Brockers, and there are tweener pass-rushers like Shea McClellin, Nick Perry, Chandler Jones, Andre Branch, and possibly Courtney Upshaw.  And while Pittsburgh might not have a dire need for help at the specific positions, other franchises might, and thus see where Pittsburgh as sitting in Round 1 as a place where they want to be.


Which Trading Partners Make Sense

While the pool of players that the Steelers could choose from at #24 may not be to their ultimate liking, it could prove to be a very valuable lot to many other franchises.  I personally believe that there are three teams which could be inclined to trade with Pittsburgh in the forms of St. Louis, Miami, and Philadelphia.

One reason why these teams could be possible trading partners with Pittsburgh is the fact that they have multiple picks in either Round 2 or Round 3.  With extra selections, comes more chances to move around on the draft board, and having these extra chips to spend at the trading table, each of these teams has the “ammunition” to make an attractive offer to a team looking to vacate Round 1.

Granted, there are other teams which could contact Pittsburgh to move up to #24 and trade with them, because they do have holes at some of the aforementioned positions (i.e.: Buffalo, Carolina, and possibly even Seattle).  Yet because the teams I listed above have multiple picks in Rounds 2 or 3, they will likely be easier partners to trade with if they desire to move up, and can give the Steelers picks in the present as opposed to the future.

In addition to the extra picks which these teams have at their disposal, Philadelphia, Miami, and St. Louis all also have needs at either Inside Linebacker, 4-3 Defensive Tackle, tweener Pass-Rusher, or could even be in the market for Stephen Hill.  St. Louis could sure use some help on the interior of their Defensive Line and it would be wise for them to attempt to acquire the player they want before the run on them begins, Miami needs all positions save for Inside Linebacker, and Philadelphia is in the market for an Inside Backer and could make a play for Stephen Hill.

Need could be important for these teams, and moving up to a certain spot where a team is looking to move down could make all of the difference.  So now that I have established some potential trading partners which the Steelers could work with on Thursday evening and then Friday afternoon, what better way to end the article than by prognosticating trades and filling the new slots in the later Rounds in a few quick Mock Drafts.

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  • bryan10s

    I am impressed with your research for a fan site. You arent just throwing out opinions that arent thoughtful. I am hopeful we (Steelers) draft Kellen Moore late in the draft to back up Ben. I think the BYU DT Hebron Fangupo is in the mix because they have had success in defensive linemen from BYU in the past. I like your Paulson, Van Bergen and Corp insight. I am still hopeful we get Poe or Baron in round 1. I think Stevenson Sylvester deserves a shot at the ILB job but I’ll take Hightower.

  • DomDiTolla

     @bryan10s Well thank you for the kind words bryan10s.  Also, I’m glad you commented on the Brigham Young D-Linemen as well.  Keisel and Hoke did/have done a nice job over their careers.  I like Fangupo a lot though because he has a squat frame similar to Hampton’s, can clog the middle and he played some 5-Technique to boot.  He will be 27 at the beginning of the season (Mormon Missionary Trip) and won’t provide much from a pass-rush stand-point which is a bit disconcerting, but he would at least help to provide adequate depth all along the Defensive Line and could contribute like Keisel (when he was a role player) and Hoke did.  In my opinion he is a rotational guy, and the team did bring in for a visit this offseason.

  • MarkArmor

    Here’s an option I haven’t heard anywhere else.  Why not trade Mike (ME) Wallace to Indianapolis for their second round pick.  That would give them a great wide receiver for Luck, and would give us the 24th pick, the 34th pick, and still keep our own second rounder.  Plus, we wouldn’t have to figure out how to pony up that much money for Wallace. 

  • DomDiTolla

     @MarkArmor I like where your head is at MarkArmor in terms of finding ways to go up early in Round 2, but at this point no team (especially a team with as many needs as the Colts do) would make such a trade.
    Most of that has to do with the fact that they would have to give up a high draft pick for Wallace and they would also have to work out a long-term deal with him before he became a Free Agent in 2013 (think Santonio Holmes and how the Jets had to sign him after he was traded there the year before he became a Free Agent).  Teams like Indianapolis, Minnesota, St. Louis, Jacksonville etc. would be better served waiting until Rounds 2-5 to acquire a talented player at a fraction of the price without having to allocate so much money to a player like Wallace who wants to be “Oprah Rich” and still be on the hook for a long term deal.
    Plus, Pittsburgh will likely receive a 3rd Round compensatory pick in 2014 after Wallace leaves so the price to trade him will likely be more because his off-field behavior is not what Santonio Holmes’ was.  It would take a 1st or a high 2nd to let Wallace walk, and because of how expensive he is, and the threat of him becoming a UFA down the road, he will remain with the Steelers in his final contract year.
    In sum, I don’t believe from a financial and football standpoint that there are/will be any Font Offices looking in his direction this week.  Teams would be better served to wait until this season ends where the only thing they would have to give up is a contract, not a contract plus draft picks.  Plus, if Wallace struggles this season, his price could go down, and those in the market for him could get him at a bargain rate as well.