As the 2015 NFL Draft quickly approaches, the options the Pittsburgh Steelers possess with the No. 22 overall pick in the first round are many. 'Best player available' is a term many use, but few truly understand. When any NFL team is selecting after the 15th pick in the draft, your options at getting the player you want fall significantly. Instead, you are forced to take the best player remaining at a position of need on your current roster. So, teams sit and wait on their hands until it is their turn to select and they figure out who remains on their big board, unless they want to trade their pick.
Trades aren't common within the Steelers' front office. The team has made some mid-to-late round trades to get players like Shamarko Thomas, but it hasn't been since Troy Polamalu was drafted in 2003 where the team has made a significant first round trade to get the player they want, rather than the player who happens to fall into their lap when they select.
With the 22nd overall pick in the upcoming draft, the Steelers find themselves in a common position of waiting. After all, when you haven't had a losing season in over 10 years, you rarely pick in the top half of the draft, but could the Steelers be poised for a Thursday draft trade? Anything is possible, but let's analyze the team's options.
Trading up is immediately what fans think of when the term draft day trade is mentioned, and there are plenty of players the Steelers could want to target by trading their 22nd pick and future picks to move up in the draft for a player they feel can impact their roster in 2015. Whether that is a pass rusher like Randy Gregory or a defensive back like Trae Waynes, there are players the Steelers could be targeting as must-get prospects regardless of the cost.
If a team is going to trade up in the draft, they have to be willing to lose some of their future for this to occur. To move into the top half of the draft, the Steelers would not only have to give up their 22nd pick, but would also have to give up picks later in the 2015 draft and possibly in the 2016 draft as well. Trading up comes with a price tag, and it all depends on the player you want to move up to pick. Troy Polamalu was well worth the risk in 2003, but that doesn't necessarily signify a trend by doing so.
The trade which most fans don't discuss is trading back in the draft. Some NFL organizations have glaring needs much worse than the Steelers, and getting an additional first round pick could be something which could have them give up later round picks to take that 22nd pick. A trade out of the first round is rare in today's NFL, but could occur if the price is right. Looking at the current draft class, if the Steelers' prized prospects are all off the board before the 22nd pick, trading the pick to gain another second, third or later round picks could be a smart play for the organization.
There are a lot of factors which would go into the team trading up, or down, in the upcoming draft, but the thought of gaining more picks or selecting a player the team feels can impact the team in 2015 is certainly something which could be fortuitous for the Steelers heading into 2015. Will a draft day trade occur on April 30th? History tells us there is a slim chance, but if you follow the NFL draft closely year after year, you never know.