Steelers ‘Targeting’ Trade Up Draft Board for Speedy, Physical CB: Report

Mike Tomlin Quinyon Mitchell

Getty Sportskeeda's Tony Pauline reported head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers are exploring trading up for Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell.

The Pittsburgh Steelers addressed cornerback with the first pick of Day 2 in the 2023 draft. This year, though, it’s possible the Steelers don’t even wait until their first pick at No. 20 overall to draft another cornerback. Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline reported on April 23 that the Steelers are pursuing the possibility of acquiring the No. 12 overall pick from the Denver Broncos to draft Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell.

“I’m told the Steelers and Broncos are talking trade as Pittsburgh is another team that is targeting Mitchell and would move up to draft him,” wrote Pauline.

Mitchell is the only prospect who ESPN, Pro Football Focus and Bleacher Report all have ranked as one of the best two cornerbacks in the 2024 draft class. Both ESPN and Bleacher Report have Mitchell rated as the best cornerback in the class.

With his size, speed and strength, NFL scouts project Mitchell to be a complete cornerback at the next level.

“He has the strength and physicality to defend the run and the speed and ball skills to cover downfield,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Cory Giddings.

“He has the ceiling of a top-15 selection, with the potential of being a Day 1 starter and lengthy NFL career.”

At the 2024 NFL combine, Mitchell ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds. That was the second-fastest time among cornerbacks at the combine.

How Quinyon Mitchell Could Fit With the Steelers

The Steelers acquired cornerback Donte Jackson from the Carolina Panthers on March 12. Given that the Steelers shipped starting wide receiver Diontae Johnson to Carolina in the deal, it would be surprising if Jackson doesn’t have a significant role for Pittsburgh during 2024.

But cornerback depth is still a concern for the Steelers. Plus, the idea of pairing Mitchell with 2023 No. 32 overall pick Joey Porter Jr. should be very enticing. Together, Mitchell and Porter could give Pittsburgh one of the top young cornerback tandems in the league.

There aren’t any cornerbacks projected to be a top 10 pick in this year’s class. But Mitchell is one of the elite prospects to grab at cornerback this spring. He also will almost certainly be gone by No. 20, which is currently where the Steelers will pick.

“Mitchell possesses a gumbo of traits, with size, strength and speed filling up the pot,” wrote’s Lance Zierlein. “He’s built like a running back, tackles like a safety and has the ball skills of a cornerback. Mitchell can play in a variety of coverages and was the clear-cut top cornerback at the Senior Bowl when working against the top receivers in practice.

“Mitchell’s traits, play demeanor and special-teams potential should make him attractive to teams in the market for CB help.”

In 13 games last season, Mitchell posted 18 pass defenses with 1 interception and 41 total tackles. He had 5 interceptions with 19 pass defenses during 2022.

History to Repeat Itself With Steelers Trade Up for Quinyon Mitchell?

The Steelers have moved up the draft board in two of the past five drafts. But that’s not the only history repeating itself if general manager Omar Khan traded draft picks with the Broncos in the first round this year.

In 2019, the Steelers moved up from No. 20 to No. 10 for linebacker Devin Bush. Pittsburgh acquired the No. 10 selection from the Broncos.

This year, Denver holds the No. 12 overall pick.

To move up 10 spots five years ago, the Steelers sent the Broncos a 2019 second-rounder and a third-round pick the following year. A trade up to No. 12 from No. 20 would likely cost a similar amount this spring.

That’s a lot to pay even for Mitchell especially because cornerback isn’t regarded as Pittsburgh’s biggest need. The Steelers don’t have a natural center currently on their roster and could use a significant upgrade at offensive tackle.

“[Mitchell]’s good. But that’s expensive,” Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora wrote on X. “And the Steelers have a ton of needs.”

The Steelers could also have competition for the No. 12 pick, which will only drive up the potential compensation needed to acquire the selection. Pauline reported the Philadelphia Eagles are also interested in moving up to No. 12 for Mitchell.

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