Steelers, Eagles Predicted to Pull Off Blockbuster Draft Trade

Mike Tomlin reacts after fourth-down stop.

For the first time in two decades, someone other than Kevin Colbert will be leading the 2023 NFL draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers starting April 27. New general manager Omar Khan — though not new to the organization — wants to put his own personal stamp on the 90th draft in franchise history.

If Khan wants to stand out, being aggressive is certainly the way to do it. The Steelers currently stand at No. 17, a variable no-man’s-land of the first-round pecking order. Players that Mike Tomlin covets could easily be off the board by the time Pittsburgh is on the clock. If Khan and assistant general manager Andy Weidl see that scenario unfolding, they could be aggressive and trade up — perhaps even into the top 10.

Cue Pittsburgh’s cross-state rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, picking at the sweet 10-spot. Ever since Weidl was brought on staff from the Eagles, the two teams have been awfully chummy. If the Steelers have their eye on a particular prospect and the draft board plays out like he won’t fall to them, Weidl may just pick up the phone and call his old friend, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.

Roseman loves hoarding draft capital. He’s one of the best at it in the league. To trade to No. 10, his Eagles would get the Steelers’ original pick 17 and No. 49. Of course, it’s not an Aaron Rodgers kind of blockbuster trade, but it would be blockbuster for the Steelers in the sense that it would give them an opportunity to grab a top-tier player that may not be there seven picks later. The best part about it? They’d still be sitting pretty with the first pick of the second round on Day 2 — a luxury afforded to them by the Chicago Bears in the Chase Claypool trade.

What Steelers Could Do With No. 10 NFL Draft Pick

The 10th overall pick would land the Pittsburgh Steelers that top offensive lineman or top cornerback that they so desperately need. Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon is the cream of the crop of the 2023 cornerback draft class, but he may not be there, even at No. 10. Christian Gonzales (Oregon) Deonte Banks (Maryland), Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State) and Emmanuel Forbes (Mississippi) round out the top five, according to the Pro Football Focus cornerback position rankings.

In the offensive tackle class, Peter Skoronski (Northwestern) could fall to 10 if Pittsburgh’s lucky. He’s a cut above the rest, which includes Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State), Darnell Wright (Tennessee), Anton Harrison (Oklahoma) and Broderick Jones (Georgia). Many mocks show the Steelers selecting Jones at No. 17, but some big boards show him going before that in the 10-15 range.

History of Steelers Trading Up First-Round NFL Draft Picks

In the last 22 years, the Steelers have only traded up three times in the first round. But that was under Kevin Colbert. There’s a new regime in town and they’re looking to knock their first draft out of the park. The duo of general manager Omar Khan and assistant general manager Andy Weidl have already been more active in free agency than in seasons past. While they haven’t necessarily made any splashy moves, they’re moves nonetheless – hopefully ones that improve their roster.

Pittsburgh’s second in-draft trade under Colbert was without question the most memorable.

In 2003, the Steelers traded Nos. 27, 92 and 200 to move up 11 spots to the Kansas City Chiefs‘ No. 17. That exchange netted them one of the best safeties of all time and certainly of the Pittsburgh Steelers: Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu.

Coming off their Championship season, the Steelers were itching to move up from the last pick of the 2006 NFL draft. They did just that in a deal with the New York Giants sending No. 96 (third-round) and No. 129 (fourth-round) to move up five spots to No. 25. With that pick, Pittsburgh selected wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

Pittsburgh’s one unsuccessful trade-up was its most recent. To move up 10 spots from No. 20 to No. 10, the Steelers sent No. 52 (second-round) and a 2020 third-round to the Denver Broncos for inside linebacker Devin Bush. He never lived up to his draft billing and is now a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

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