The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a favorable position heading into the NFL Draft. Thanks to a successful , Pittsburgh doesn't have any major needs going into the team's first draft with general manager Omar Khan running the show.
With most of their positions secured, the Steelers don't have to try to move up from the No. 17 overall pick. They will likely use the pick to acquire who they feel is the best remaining player at either cornerback, offensive tackle, interior defensive line or receiver -- the positions that still need some beefing up.
It's no surprise the Steelers are interested in Joey Porter Jr., the former Penn State cornerback whose father starred for the team in the 2000s. The Steelers may also be interested in reuniting Kenny Pickett with former Pitt teammate Jordan Addison, who, with Pickett as his quarterback, won the Fred Biletnikoff Award given annually to college football's top receiver. Calijah Kancey, a standout defensive linemen out of Pitt, may be another player that's on Pittsburgh's radar in the first round.
Fortunately for the Steelers, there's a good chance that at least one of those players will be available when they are on the clock for the first time, which reduces the odds of Khan trading up. But that doesn't rule that possibility out, however, as the Steelers may decide to move up a few spots to ensure that their desired prospect ends up wearing black and gold.
Here are a few possible scenarios that could play out should Pittsburgh decide to trade out of the No. 17 overall pick.
Use Kevin Dotson to move up several spots
If the Steelers have a player they could possibly trade during the draft, it would be Dotson, a 2020 fourth-round pick with 30 career starts under his belt. Dotson was made somewhat expendable this offseason after the team signed Isaac Seumalo in free agency.
Of the players noted above, Porter is the player who is most likely to be off the board before the Steelers are on the clock. The Commanders, who own the No. 16 overall pick, are also in the market for a cornerback and may take Porter if he is still available. That could lead the Steelers to pursue trades that would allow them to leapfrog Washington while increasing their odds at drafting Porter.
The Jets and Patriots, who respectively own the 13th and 14th overall picks, could use upgrades on their offensive lines and would benefit by having Dotson on their roster. The Steelers could include Dotson in a trade package that would likely include other draft picks in order for the value to even out.
Pittsburgh would surely like to have better Day 3 picks as it is currently without picks in the fifth and sixth rounds. Conversely, the Patriots have four sixth-round picks, while the Jets have picks in both the fifth and sixth rounds.
Trading Dotson would create another need Pittsburgh would have to fill, but that might be worth it for the Steelers if it means they are able to draft their desired prospect. The Steelers still have Kendrick Green on the roster, too, so they wouldn't necessarily have to rush to find Dotson's replacement.
Trade back into the first round
With the 32nd and 49th picks, the Steelers have the ability to get a little creative during the draft. They could use those picks to gain a second first-round pick if there is a player they covet who's still available. One such player could be Alabama defensive back Brian Branch, a versatile defender who the Steelers could play at either safety or cornerback. The Steelers would likely get something in return in the form of a third of a Day 3 pick in this scenario.
Seattle may be willing to trade with the Steelers in this scenario given that they have two first-round picks (the No. 5 and No. 20 overall picks) and 10 overall picks in the draft. The Seahawks also have something the Steelers covet: two fifth-round picks (including a pick they acquired from Pittsburgh) and a sixth-round pick.
Trade back with the Chargers
Los Angeles, which currently has the No. 21 overall pick, is likely targeting a receiver in the first round. With this in mind, it's possible that the Chargers will be motivated to move up a few spots if receivers are taken off the board at a faster than anticipated rate. Should this happen, the Chargers may be willing to part ways with one of their Day 3 picks.
A trade that would make sense for both parties would be the Chargers trading the No. 21 and No. 158 overall picks (along with possibly a future late-round pick as an additional sweetener) to Pittsburgh in exchange for the No. 17 overall pick. This would give the Chargers a better chance at acquiring a top wideout while also supplying the Steelers with another Day 3 pick.