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Analyzing the Steelers trade options in the 2023 NFL Draft

The Pittsburgh Steelers could trade up in the first round, but what would that look like?

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Draft is only days away, and fans of all 32 NFL teams are wondering what their favorite team will do once the picks start flying off the board next Thursday in Round 1.

  • Will the team trade up?
  • What about a trade back?

Draft day trades have become the norm in the modern NFL, but some teams like to trade more than others. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, historically they don’t trade too often. Trading up has been done more than trading back, only once in the Kevin Colbert era, but with Omar Khan now calling the shots you have to wonder if things will change.

Khan has been extremely active throughout free agency bringing in new faces to help round out the Steelers’ roster, but this will be his first draft with Andy Weidl and company steering the proverbial ship.

Bill Barnwell of ESPN recently ran down a situation where teams could trade, and the Steelers have options to both trade up, and trade down in Round 1 of the draft. Take a look at how Barnwell sees this playing out, and what the team both gives up and gets in each scneario.

Steelers trade to No. 12

12. Houston Texans

Steelers get: 1-12, 4-104

Texans get: 1-17, 2-49

This would be the last chance for a team to move up the board for a left tackle before the Jets and Patriots. The Texans are set at tackle with Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard, although the latter is entering the final year of his deal. If general manager Nick Caserio is going to use his second Round 1 pick on a wide receiver, doing so at No. 17 is probably better value than taking one here, given the relatively muddled group of options in the top tier.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, while now-retired Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert rarely moved up in the first round, this is Omar Khan’s team now. It’s fair to start with the idea that Khan will behave the same way as his former boss, but Brian Gutekunst took over the Packers from Ted Thompson and immediately started trading up. The Steelers have an extra second-round pick after sending Chase Claypool to the Bears, which might make a move easier to swallow.

Incumbent left tackle Dan Moore was pushed into the starting role prematurely as a rookie in 2021, and he has ranked 66th out of 77 qualifying tackles in pass block win rate over his first two seasons while committing 15 penalties. Moving up for Paris Johnson Jr. or Peter Skoronski would net the Steelers a blue-chip prospect to protect Kenny Pickett while turning Moore into experienced depth to help deal with more injuries up front.

Steelers trade back to No. 21

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers get: 1-21, 3-87

Vikings get: 1-17

Let’s welcome the Vikings to the quarterback market! They don’t have much draft capital (five total picks) after they traded their second-rounder in the T.J. Hockenson deal. They also don’t have a quarterback signed past the 2023 season; Kirk Cousins will hit free agency next March. Another go-round with Cousins doesn’t seem like it should excite the Vikings.

Landing a passer in this range would make sense, especially if Minnesota believes Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) can be an NFL starter. The problem for general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is that the Buccaneers pick at No. 19 and the Seahawks own No. 20, and both could be interested in Hooker as their quarterback of the future. (The Lions pick 18th, and while the Vikings completed a deal with their divisional rivals during the draft a year ago, Detroit GM Brad Holmes might not be quite as interested if he figures Minnesota is moving up for a quarterback.)

Moving down four spots would net the Steelers a third-round pick, which would leave them in range for a cornerback.

At this point, no one knows what will actually happen when the draft rolls around, but which scenario above would you want to see happen for the Steelers? What would your reaction be? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the NFL offseason.