The Pittsburgh Steelers made a bold move on Thursday night, moving up 10 spots in the 2019 NFL Draft to select Michigan linebacker Devin Bush.
The move was a bold one — and somewhat unexpected — because of the cost typically associated with making such a trade. But thanks to the outcomes of a tumultuous offseason, the Steelers had the pieces necessary to pull the trigger.
According to the chart created by former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson that is commonly used as a reference framework to establish the value of draft picks, the Denver Broncos, who owned pick No. 10 — got pretty close to the full value of their selection.
According to the chart, the No. 10 pick is worth 1,300 points. The No. 20 pick is worth 850 points. The Steelers also sent pick No. 52 in the second round to Denver, adding 380 points, and their 2020 third-round pick. That pick will be worth at most 265 points, giving Denver a total of 1,495 as a best-case scenario. On the other hand, if the Steelers win the Super Bowl, that third round pick will net just 116 points, giving Denver 1,346 points.
Either way, the Broncos end up ahead of the chart, but with one major exception. That third-round pick coming in the 2020 season means that Denver will have to wait an entire year to realize the return on that part of the deal while Bush suits up for the Steelers this fall.
Picks that high aren’t usually traded in such a fashion, but a team looking to trade up a year — meaning a 2020 pick for a 2019 pick — would typically lose at least one round on the exchange. So that 2020 third-round pick for Denver is valued more closely to a 2019 fourth-round pick, which would leave Denver with somewhere between 44 and 112 points, straddling the line between a break-even and a loss.
But the Broncos were confident that they would be able to get the kind of player they were looking for at No. 20 — picking Iowa tight end Noah Fant.
“You guys still good? You wanna do that deal?”
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 26, 2019
That gave the Steelers the opportunity to move ahead of Cincinnati, which held the No. 11 pick and had been linked to Bush.
“It really wasn’t that complicated,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said on the night of the first round. “We touched base earlier in the day and exchanged some ideas and usually when you do that you always know. No one wants to make a deal until you’re on the clock because you don’t know what you’re trading away from. We don’t know what you’re trading up for. It really wasn’t that complicated. You get on the phone and it’s we’ll do this, and they say OK we’ll do it.”
The Steelers expect to get another third-round pick in 2020 as compensation for losing free agents, including running back Le’Veon Bell, who signed with the New York Jets, and have an additional third-round pick in 2019 from trading Antonio Brown to the Raiders.
So even after the trade, the Steelers still have picks in all seven rounds in 2020 and will have two picks on the second day of the 2019 draft at No. 66 and No. 83 in the third round on Friday night.
“We never want to trade away a second-round pick, but this year, because of that high third that we got from the Raiders in the Antonio Brown trade, we were willing to do it this year because in essence, that high three is only three spots from a second-round pick,” Colbert said. “That high third really enabled us to do it because we said under no circumstances would we go into (Friday) with less than two picks. That was our criteria when myself and coach (Mike Tomlin) and Art Rooney II sat down. Surely we’ll look into trading up, but we want to have two picks (Friday) because they’re good players still left.”
So if you’re a Steelers fan that’s pleased with the bold move to get Bush in the first round of the draft, Colbert and company certainly deserve plenty of credit. But the contributions — such as they were — of Bell and Brown also played a big factor.
Ben Roethlisberger: ‘If They Decided to Trade Me I Would Probably Just Call it Quits’
Don’t expect a Tom Brady/Phillip Rivers/Peyton Manning situation ever developing between the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger.
Speaking with Bill Cowher on the NFL on CBS pregame show before the Steelers’ 26-21 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Roethlisberger made it clear that he isn’t interested in finishing out his career with a different franchise.
The interview, which ranged from Roethlisberger’s return in front of an empty NFL stadium, to his long road to recovery, ended with Cowher asking (if not downright pleading) for his former star quarterback to remain in Pittsburgh.
"This is home. I don't know anything but bleeding black and gold."
@Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger sits down with his former coach @CowherCBS to discuss his fight to get back in the game and his devotion to the Steelers organization. pic.twitter.com/A0Q7Yj2yBA
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 20, 2020
“You’re in your seventeenth year,” Cowher said. “Tom going to Tampa, we saw Phillip go to Indianapolis. Please tell me you’ll follow the footsteps of Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu and you will always be a Steeler. Can you go on record and say that?”
“I can most likely go on record and say that,” Roethlisberger said. “I have no plans on going anywhere. And I feel like even if they decided to trade me I would probably just call it quits. This is home. I don’t know anything but bleeding black and gold.
While anything can happen in the NFL, as clearly illustrated by Brady playing in Tampa Bay red and pewter this season, it doesn’t sound like Steelers fans should have any worries about where Roethlisberger’s loyalties lie.
From the Locker Room: Joe Haden says Steelers Looked to be Physical Despite Penalties
Steelers cornerback Joe Haden speaks with reporters, including Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about the pass interference penalties against his team and the defense’s fourth-quarter stop in their 26-21 win over the Denver Broncos.
Joe Haden had an up and down day, recording an interception but also losing some one-on-one battles, most notably almost being beat for what would’ve been a sure touchdown until the receiver tripped.
Steelers Postgame Show: Turnovers, Big Plays Allow Steelers to Beat Broncos
It wasn’t exactly as pretty as some expected, but the Steelers managed to win nonetheless. Mike Asti and Matt Gajtka guided fans through a Steelers edition of Pittsburgh Postgame, discussing the 26-21 win over Denver and what needs to improve to keep the winning streak going.
How did Ben Roethlisberger look after another week of actual game play? Is James Conner back or are his week 2 numbers a bit misleading? What were the bright spots, as well as, weaknesses from the defense? Mike and Matt answered all those questions and much more immediately following the game.