Steelers Draft 2013: If the Steelers are interested in Eifert, a trade down makes sense

Mike Ehrmann

It's not the ability level of Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert as much as him being the No. 17 overall pick. Trading down with Eifert in mind, though, may not be a bad idea.

With the Steelers having taken Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert with the No. 17 pick in the 2013 BTSC Community Mock Draft, pause is taken to reflect on what all just happened.

Even if Mel Kiper has made this pick in his last two mock drafts, something just doesn't seem right with taking the talented Eifert at 17. Nothing against him, but for a tight end to get taken that high, he's gotta run a 4.5 or be like 7-foot-2.

Eifert didn't measure in at that at the Combine, and assuming he didn't grow 14 inches between February and today, and didn't drop over a tenth of a second from his 40 time, it appears he won't fit those criteria.

It wouldn't be a shock to see the Steelers take a tight end in the higher rounds of this draft. Heath Miller tore his ACL in Week 16 of this past season, and is heading into the final year of his contract. With newly signed Matt Spaeth and second-year TE David Paulson ready to do battle with David Johnson for a roster spot, the depth at the position is tenuous at best.

But perhaps Eifert is a target. Maybe not at 17, but in a year where very little has been normal for the Steelers, doing something they haven't done in decades - trading down in the first round - doesn't seem like a bad idea.

The Minnesota Vikings are a team on the rise with two first round picks. While the team did just fine in the absence of Percy Harvin (a player who took out his frustrations from chronic migraine headaches by becoming a major one for the team), a player like Tavon Austin makes a lot of sense for the receiver-depleted 10-6 squad from a year ago.

While Austin projects to be gone before 17 by many, it's not pointless to suggest he could be on the board when the Steelers are on the clock. The Vikings and Steelers perhaps could each benefit by swapping first round picks.

It's becoming clearer QB Christian Ponder's ceiling is relatively low in comparison to many of his younger passing peers. Austin just finished a career in an offense where he was asked to catch short, underneath routes and turn them into big gains. Ponder lacks higher level arm strength, and the team doesn't have deep receivers anyway.

With the emergence of TE Kyle Rudolph in that offense, Austin could be a target for the Vikings. The problem is, he won't last until the Vikings first pick in the first round, No. 23 overall.

Steelers deal No. 17 overall for No. 23 overall and the Vikings third round pick, No. 82 overall (with Cleveland having used their second round pick on WR Josh Gordon and the Saints having been docked their second round pick for their involvement in a pay-for-performance scheme, there are only 30 picks in the second round).

Pittsburgh would gain a valuable top 100 pick in a draft deeper on good players even if it's a tad thin on outstanding players, and be able to look for a guy like Eifert at 23 - a realistic position for a talented player. The Vikings - in this scenario - would get the dynamic slot receiver they lost in Harvin, not pay him as much as Harvin demanded he be paid and help bolster a passing game as 2012 NFL MVP Adrian Peterson begins to head into the twilight of his career.


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