New Steelers Trade Idea Could Block Jets From QB Protection

Braxton Berrios, Jets

Getty New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios making a move during an NFL game.

It seems like all of the New York Jets cards are on the table.

The leaguewide consensus has been Gang Green will select an offensive lineman in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft according to the experts. The NFL’s worst-kept secret could come back to haunt the Jets in April.

Football Outsiders made bold offseason predictions for every NFL team. For the Pittsburgh Steelers they encouraged them to “use a second-round pick to move up in the draft.”

“Where they are lacking, and have been for a while now, is on the offensive line,” Football Outsiders explained in an ESPN column posted on Friday, March 3. “A boost of elite talent upfront could reposition the team near the top of the AFC once again.”

One of the specific suggestions in their blurb was for the Steelers to use the No. 49 overall pick in the second round “to leap in front of the Jets at 13 for their preferred choice” of the top offensive linemen.

Breaking Down the Steelers, Jets Landscape in Draft

According to Tankathon, the Steelers have seven picks in the 2023 draft. A first-rounder, two second-rounders, a third, one-fourth, and two picks in the seventh round.

If Pittsburgh decided to stand pat with their top three picks (No. 17, No. 32, and No. 49) that would be the “safe route”, per Football Outsiders.

However, those selections aren’t considered “slam dunk draft slots” and thus the quantity wouldn’t outweigh the quality approach.

According to the experts, there is an elite top-three offensive tackle group then you have the rest of the pack. In Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 big board, those top big men all reside inside his top-15:

  • Peter Skoronski, Northwestern, No. 6 overall
  • Paris Johnson Jr, Ohio State, No. 14 overall
  • Broderick Jones, Georgia, No. 15 overall

None of those players are expected to be available by the time the Steelers are on the clock which is why Football Outsiders encouraged them to trade up.

According to the NFL draft value chart, if Pittsburgh combined the No. 17 and No. 49 overall picks (1,360 points) in a trade they could move as high as the No. 9 overall pick which is held by the Carolina Panthers.

That could block the Jets from landing either their top choice or perhaps any of the standout offensive linemen in this class.

Jets Might Have to Get Aggressive With Trade Up

In a perfect world, the Jets might prefer trading back in the first round of the draft in April. All of the years of having bonus picks from sending players away have expired.

According to Tankathon, the Jets have only six picks in the 2023 draft.

However, if general manager Joe Douglas, a former offensive lineman, falls in love with one of the top-tier prospects he might not have any choice.

Gang Green is going to bring in an expensive veteran quarterback this offseason. It won’t mean a damn if the team can’t protect him in 2023.

The offensive tackle situation is a bit fluid for the Jets with a pending retirement situation, injuries, and free agency looming.

It might be pretty tempting to select another offensive tackle in the first round to put some minds at ease. The Jets don’t have a lot of picks to work with but they have to make sure they make contact when they swing.

A potential trade-up in the first round might put them in a position to do exactly that.

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