The Pittsburgh Steelers surprised many people at the November 1st NFL trade deadline when they shipped Chase Claypool to the Chicago Bears. The trade itself surprised many, but what surprised most fans was the return the Steelers received for Claypool.
It was their original 2nd Round draft pick.
The Bears possess two 2nd Round picks, thanks to the trade with the Baltimore Ravens for the Roquan Smith, and although the original report stated the Steelers received the Ravens’ pick, it was actually the Bears’ original pick.
With the Ravens currently leading in the AFC North rankings and looking primed for another playoff berth, it is quite the difference when the Steelers were able to obtain the Bears, not the Ravens, 2nd Round selection.
The 3-5 Bears currently posses the 12th overall draft pick, but ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) takes a look at where they think the Bears will end the season. Here is the criteria FPI uses when doing these rankings:
Every week during the season, the FPI projects the draft order by simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times. Game probabilities are based largely on the model’s ratings for individual teams in addition to game locations. The order is based on the records the model believes the teams will have after 17 games, and the order is based on each team’s average draft position in the simulations. NFC/AFC playoff seeding is not taken into account right now; this is just a projection based on average draft position.
So, how do they see the Bears finishing the season? Let’s take a look...
- Average draft position: 8.1
- FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 2.9%
- FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 33%
- FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 72.3%
If the FPI is accurate, the Steelers could be seeing a Top 10, if not Top 5, draft pick in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
It is natural to also wonder where the Steelers are projected to finish in the draft order, per FPI:
- Average draft position: 4.8
- FPI chance to earn No. 1 pick: 15.8%
- FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 66.8%
- FPI chance to earn top-10 pick: 91.6%
This should make Steelers fans very excited, as it pertains to where the Steelers could be picking in the second round of the draft. Sure, it doesn’t help the Steelers in 2022, but it certainly will in the future.
So, why did the Bears trade such a valuable pick to the Steelers for Claypool? Especially after they traded both Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn? Bill Barnwell of ESPN gives his take on the matter:
What the Bears paid, though, tells us why Claypool ended up at Soldier Field. Chicago’s 2023 pick currently stands as the No. 44 overall selection in the draft, but ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) projects it to end up at No. 38. Given that the Bears just traded away their two best defenders for draft picks, it would hardly be a surprise if they struggled during the second half of the season. If the Steelers projected that pick to come in around No. 38, which competitive team was going to top that offer?
The only team in the playoff hunt with a better second-round selection would be the Seahawks, who have Denver’s second-rounder, but they don’t need a wide receiver. The Browns might be on the postseason fringe, but they aren’t in a position to trade away draft picks, and the Steelers probably preferred to trade Claypool outside the AFC North.
No team would have been willing to give up a first-round pick for Claypool, nor should they have been. It’s possible a team could have offered a later second-round pick and an additional selection — if the Packers offered second- and fourth-round picks, for example — but the Steelers might well have preferred the best possible selection.
When you are talking about trades with any team for draft picks, it is worth noting these picks are only one step of the process. You have to be able to draft quality players with said picks if you want to truly turn your franchise around.
With the Steelers’ new regime with Omar Khan and Andy Weidl at the helm, nothing is certain. The hope is they turn these four Day 1 and Day 2 picks in the upcoming draft into players who not only produce early in their careers, but turn the franchise from pretender into contender.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2022 regular season following the Week 9 bye.