With Monday night’s win over Indianapolis, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ slid from the fifth overall choice in next spring’s NFL Draft to the 12th pick. While a run down the stretch would likely push the Steelers further back in the sequence, victories like the one over the Colts provide a promising glimpse into the future of Pittsburgh’s success — namely Kenny Pickett’s progression behind center.
Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and Carolina now make up the top five.
As compensation for Chase Claypool in the two teams’ trade earlier this month, the Steelers own the Bears’ second-round pick. Chicago has dropped five games in a row, including a 31-10 defeat to the New York Jets Sunday. Quarterback Justin Fields missed the contest with a separated shoulder that might keep him out for an extended period of time. As of right now, the pick they gave Pittsburgh is practically a first-rounder.
If you’re going by Pro Football Focus’ updated big board, prospective talents such as edge rushers Nolan Smith (Georgia) and Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech), offensive tackle Paris Johnson (Ohio State), and wide receivers Jordan Addison (USC) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State) should be available in the middle of the initial round.
If the Steelers’ spot holds for the remaining month and change left in the regular season, it would continue Pittsburgh’s streak of not drafting in the top 10 — without trading up — since 2000. The Steelers have only drafted that high twice since 1987, with the two choices being Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson and wide receiver Plaxico Burress.