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2024 NFL Draft

CBS Sports Analyst Thinks Steelers Should Stay Put at 20th Overall



Steelers Draft Khan Tomlin

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently did an exercise where he decided the best plan for all 32 teams in the 2024 NFL Draft: Trade up, trade down or stay put in first round. In regards to the Steelers, Benjamin thinks Pittsburgh should stay put at 20th overall.

“A trade up could be necessary to prevent a top tackle or corner from escaping their grasp, but they could also find good value at one of those spots, or another area of need like guard or receiver, by waiting it out,” Benjamin wrote.

Depending on who’s on the board, it seems like this year’s draft could be a perfect opportunity for the Steelers to trade down for the first time in Round 1 since selecting Casey Hampton in 2001. The Steelers just have so many needs — wide receiver, center, offensive tackle and slot cornerback. Those four feel like the obvious top four needs and could be classified as positions they have to draft in some respects.

So far, the Steelers have brought wide receivers Ricky Pearsall of Florida, Xavier Legette of South Carolina, Malachi Corley of Western Kentucky, Tahj Washington of USC and Luke McCaffrey of Rice in for pre-draft visits.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin hinted at the NFL owner’s meetings that the wide receiver position most likely will be addressed in the draft. This year’s draft is loaded at receiver, and it’s a position that the Steelers typically do well at in the mid-to-late rounds. Selecting Antonio Brown in the sixth round in 2010 is a prime example.

“You know, we’ve got a lot of options there,” Tomlin said about the wide receiver position at the NFL owner’s meetings. “There’s still a lot of capable guys on the market. The draft is probably unusually deep at that position and has been for the last several years. I just think that receivers and those that cover them come probably a little bit more ready in today’s game than maybe in year’s past. I think it’s the evolution of seven-on-seven football for high school kids. I just think their development, the skills relative to their positions come with a higher floor. Much like AAU Basketball probably transformed basketball. I think seven-on-seven has had a significant impact on the passing game and those that participate in it. And I think that’s why there’s always a lot of wide outs that appear to be game ready, corners that appear to be game ready. They’re playing football and working on skills relative to football over the course of a 12-month calendar during significant developmental age groups now.”

ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller has West Virginia center Zach Frazier ranked as the 29th overall player, and thinks there could be a first-round buzz. Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson also might go late first round, so the Steelers could have an opportunity to still get an elite center if they want to go the trade back route.

“Frazier was a four-time West Virginia state champion wrestler in high school, and that level of agility, toughness and strength is exactly what you want in a center prospect. Coming from a wide-zone scheme, he’s ideal for the modern NFL — and if teams are comfortable with his recovery from a leg injury that ended his 2023 season early, expect late-Round 1 talk,” Miller wrote.