The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the precipice of a complete offensive overhaul. And since no position effects the success of an offense more than the quarterback spot, that might be the best place to start. With Ben Roethlisberger under contract for just one more year, and already 38 years of age, the Steelers will soon be in the market for a new quarterback anyway. While it’s still possible Roethlisberger retires this offseason, by all accounts he is poised to return for one more season.
If the Steelers want to draft a quarterback that’s able to play right now, but is still highly impressionable as a thrower, there is no greater prospect than North Dakota State University’s, Trey Lance. The 20 year old pivot is a two-time FCS national champion (2018/2019) and likely would have led the Bison to their fourth straight title. In my opinion, had the FCS played their 2020 season Lance’s stock would have skyrocketed and he would have been the second pick of the draft. Lucky for the Steelers, but unlucky for Lance, he may end up being the fourth, or in some cases, fifth quarterback taken.
So, that brings us to the point of our exercise. CBS Sports Ryan Wilson posted his latest NFL mock draft. Within it he made a number of trades, including the Steelers making a deal with the Dallas Cowboys to jump from number 24 to the number 10 slot of the draft. This deal sees the Steelers jump over quarterback needy teams like the New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers, and the Washington Football Team to select its future quarterback.
Latest Mock Draft @ryanwilsonCBS with some interesting mock trades pic.twitter.com/3a0w31SNk0— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 19, 2021
The biggest roadblocks to this deal happening is the feasibility of Trey Lance slipping in the draft. We all know the big names at the top of the draft board, but Lance could very well be the next quarterback selected after Trevor Lawrence. The second biggest potential problem is how much draft compensation are the Steelers willing to part with to move up 14 spots. If Trey Lance is still on the board after the Denver Broncos make their pick, then I would expect a bidding war with a number of teams trying to get the Cowboys’ slot. Wilson himself thought the Steelers would need to deal their first and second round pick this year and another first round pick in 2022 to pull off this deal. In my opinion, if you really think Lance is the guy to bring your team back to the promised land, you make that deal every day of the week.
The biggest pro as to why the Steelers would make this deal include Lance’s athletic ability that would add a brand new dimension to the Steelers’ offense. The second is the Steelers love drafting underclassmen with their early draft picks. Lance is so young that a year under Ben Roethlisberger could set him up for a massive 2022 season. Lance is also extremely careful with the ball. How careful? He didn't throw a single interception in his 2019 campaign. The worst game of Lances’ career was his lone game of the 2020 season, when NDSU played Central Arkansas in what was quite literally a showcase for Trey Lance to NFL scouts. Knowing what NDSU was playing for, Central Arkansas built a game plan around shutting down the arm of Lance; however, Lance showed off his running ability and put up 143 yards and two scores on the ground.
While trading up for a quarterback within the next two drafts seems like an inevitability, if the Steelers are planning on making a trade of this magnitude now, the entire organization has to be on board. With Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin (and multiple other coaches) operating on continuous one year contracts, it would appear Lance would outlast the current regime. Instead, making a move like this needs to start on the shoulders of Brandon Hunt and Omar Khan. Either of whom will likely become the next general manager in Pittsburgh. If they crown Trey Lance the man to take over Ben Roethlisberger’s job, Kevin Colbert probably pulls the trigger.
To put it simply, this deal is possible. But it’s going to take a lot of cooperation from everyone in the organization, as well as a pretty steep price to to pay to make the deal work. If the Steelers are sure this is their guy, they will make the deal.
But what do you think? Could you foresee the Steelers trading up to draft Trey Lance? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.
Check out the podcast below where BTSC’s co-editor Jeff Hartman outlines why the Steelers should be aggressive in the 2021 NFL Draft to get a quarterback, and why Lance is the man they should target: