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2024 NFL Draft

Potential Steelers Trade Down Partner Standing Pat Instead

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a perfect to trade out of the 20th overall, but don’t expect it to be the Buffalo Bills.



Steelers GM Omar Khan
Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan scans the field before Pittsburgh's game against the 49ers, Sept. 10, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers moved around the board at will last year. In the 2023 NFL Draft, Omar Khan executed a trade-up from the 17th pick to the 14th overall pick and then proceeded to trade down in the third round to maximize value, still landing Darnell Washington in the process. It seems that might be something he wants to do in these classes.

And in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, instead of trading up, the opposite looks far more appetizing for Khan and the team right now. But one team does not seem to be in the sweepstakes. Buffalo does not want to move back, according to Jordan Reid of ESPN.

“Even before the Diggs trade, there has been some expectation that the Bills will be aggressive in trying to move up for a wide receiver on Day 1 — but I’m actually hearing the opposite. The Bills might ultimately be content with letting the draft play out and addressing the position at No. 28 — or even possibly trading back. If things go that way, Keon Coleman (Florida State) and Xavier Legette (South Carolina) are worth watching. Buffalo lacks a true boundary X receiver, and both would provide value in that role as strong, physical pass-catchers,” Reid wrote.

The Steelers have a lot of needs. Wide receiver, offensive tackle, slot cornerback, center. Those four feel like the obvious top four needs and could be classified as positions they have to draft in some respects. But beyond that, another receiver, outside cornerback depth, inside linebacker depth, and defensive line depth are also wants. Pittsburgh still has targets at all of their top needs out there in free agency, really outside of center, but another day two pick would help sprinkle in more ammunition to fill all of those voids and allow for another luxury pick.

Pittsburgh can trade down and get a player at a premium position to fill a void. Just going through each position, Tyler Guyton, AD Mitchell, and Kool-Aid McKinstry would likely be there on a trade-down. That could allow the team to pick a center if they wanted to while maximizing value. It all makes sense from multiple angles. If the right offer comes, a trade-down has to be in play.

One positive aspect with four picks in the Top 100 and five in the Top 120 is that the Steelers can expect to fill a good deal of their voids, but not all of them. There will be one clear need that likely ends up underwhelming. And I think the post-free agency period will be huge for that. After last year’s draft, they signed Chandon Sullivan, Markus Golden, and Kwon Alexander to bolster their team. But if they want to try and maximize filling as many voids in the 2024 NFL Draft as possible, trading back and acquiring another day two pick looks appetizing.

That gives the team room to lake luxury picks when talented players are on the board, something they were allowed to do multiple times in the 2023 NFL Draft, which seems to have extremely positive early returns. For a general manager like Khan, that is goo process, and something that he likely will consider.