Rare Trade Proposal Lands Steelers Former 1st-Round Pick

Mike Tomlin Zac Taylor Dax Hill

Getty SI.com's All Steelers' Noah Strackbein proposed Mike Tomlin and Zac Taylor work out a trade to send former first-round pick Dax Hill to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pundits have connected the Pittsburgh Steelers to numerous wide receivers potentially available in the NFL trade market this offseason. But on April 17, SI.com’s All Steelers’ Noah Strackbein proposed the Steelers pursue an unusual trade for a defensive back.

Strackbein argued the Steelers should consider trading for Cincinnati Bengals safety Dax Hill.

“The Steelers need a slot cornerback. Hill provides that with plenty of upside and likely wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg due to his decreased role in Cincinnati,” wrote Strackbein. “If he’s looking for an opportunity and the Bengals are looking for cost before realizing they don’t have a place for him, why wouldn’t a trade work?”

The Bengals drafted Hill at No. 31 overall in the 2022 NFL draft. The Steelers acquiring Hill would be unusual because trades between two division rivals aren’t common in the NFL.

But Strackbein pointed out that the Steelers have conducted trades within the AFC North previously. Strackbein proposed Pittsburgh offering a mid-to-late round selection for the 23-year-old.

“With two years left on his rookie deal and the potential of a fifth-year option, Hill is worth a move for a Day 2 or lower pick,” wrote Strackbein. “And if the Steelers feel Cincinnati would even consider it, they should – and could – make a call.”

In 2023, Hill recorded 11 pass defenses and 2 interceptions in 17 games. He also had 110 combined tackles, including 6 tackles for loss, 5 quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks.

How Dax Hill Could Fit With the Steelers

Former first-rounders who emerge as a starter in their second season don’t typically get traded. But the Bengals signed veteran safeties Geno Stone and Vonn Bell in NFL free agency this offseason.

Those moves could push Hill back into a reserve role. Or he could switch to another position with the Bengals.

Before Cincinnati signed those veteran safeties, the team reached out to Hill to make him aware that he will have to be versatile to play this fall.

“We’ll see how things go, but everything’s kind of just up in the air, we’ll see how things go and just play it from there,” Hill told Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson. “Whatever they ask of me, whatever that is, I’m going do it. But I mean, whatever the position that I’ll be in, I’m going to give it my all.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Hill played 605 snaps at free safety last season. He also lined up for 230 defensive snaps at box safety and 187 snaps in the slot.

The slot is where Hill would likely fit best with the Steelers. Pittsburgh didn’t re-sign 2023 slot cornerback Chandon Sullivan.

Veteran cornerbacks Levi Wallace, Elijah Riley and James Pierre also left Pittsburgh in free agency. Furthermore, the Steelers released cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Keanu Neal.

What Could the Steelers Offer for Hill?

Strackbein proposed the Steelers land Hill for either a third-round or Day 3 selection. Thanks to the Kenny Pickett trade, the Steelers have an extra third-round choice.

The Steelers own both the No. 84 and No. 98 overall selections in the third round. They also have the No. 51 pick during the second.

On Day 3, the Steelers have a fourth-round choice at No. 119 and two sixth-rounders at No. 178 and No. 195 overall.

It’s hard to foresee the Bengals departing with a 23-year-old with starting experience who has two years remaining on his rookie deal for anything less than a Day 2 selection. And for a division rival, the price will only be higher, not lower.

Therefore, it probably makes the most sense for the Steelers to offer the No. 98 overall pick if they are interested in Hill.

With that trade, the Steelers could add a starting defensive back without changing their plans with their top three selections.

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