The Steelers addressed their offensive line in 2023 NFL free agency, signing former Eagles starter Isaac Seumalo to take over at guard. On Thursday night, Pittsburgh doubled down on upgrading the trenches, . The Steelers surrendered the No. 17 pick and a fourth-rounder to the Patriots to do so.
But which side actually won the deal? Let's grade it:
New England dropped only three spots to gain a fourth-rounder (No. 120 overall), which is fine when you consider there weren't obvious possibilities on the board along the defensive line. All the wide receivers were also available at the time, allowing them to wait on addressing their pass catching corps. You can nitpick the overall return value of the trade; as CBS Sports' R.J. White notes, moving from No. 14 to No. 17 should've netted them the equivalent of the No. 88 pick. Instead, they got No. 120 in the fourth. But even after dropping, they ended up with Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez at No. 17, arguably the most gifted cover man of the class.
Nothing is more important in Pittsburgh than protecting Kenny Pickett as the QB looks to make a leap in 2023. And the Steelers secured one of the most physically talented blockers in the draft by moving up three spots for Jones. The tackle prospect may be raw, but his special athleticism could make him a long-time left tackle for Steel City. Better yet, the value of the pick swap checks out in their favor. According to R.J. White's draft-pick trade-value chart, the Steelers ended up with a 301.06-point pick in return for 278.70 points of compensation.