Left from the dust of the Antonio Brown drama is the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting with 10 draft picks. While the Steelers have ten picks it would be surprising to see them walk away with ten rookies. The team needs to package some of these picks together to pick and choose their spots in the draft to add impact players.
According to a study done by Optimum Scouting, players drafted in the first 48 picks are almost three times more likely to be retained on a second contract compared to players picked from 48-97.
Picks 48-97 are still twice as likely to be retained than a pick from 98-208. That wide range of picks have a similar outcome of success, and any pick after 209 is a 1-in-100 proposition. Yes, the Steelers hit on Antonio Brown and Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick. Those are the ones in the many hundreds of misses.
The Steelers need to draft potential impact players, not lottery tickets.
The idea is to get into the top 48 or even 97 with as many picks as possible because the odds of finding a hit after are just as good no matter the draft slot.
The Steelers have ten picks, but only one is in the top 48 and four are in the top 97. At this point, they have the chance to add four potential impact players with six lottery tickets on the back end.
The Steelers need to try to turn some of those lottery tickets into picks that have the potential to make an impact next year.
This may not mean moving up in the first round. However, if there were ever a year to make a splash with a high draft pick, this could be that year. This may not mean moving up in the second round. However, if they did want to move from 52 into the low 40s to add a player they know can get on the field right away, the odds show that is likely worth a couple of those lottery tickets.
The Steelers have two third-round picks. They could package one of those with a lottery ticket or two to move up into the second round.
However, their best bet would be to try to move their fourth-round pick, pick 122 and get into the top 100 using the fifth round pick the Raiders gave them or any of their three sixth-round picks. They could also try to move that fifth-round pick, at 147 to move up closer to the top 100.
The Steelers could also try to turn some of their lower draft capital into veterans, bypassing free agency and keeping them in play for a compensatory pick for Le’Veon Bell.
The New England Patriots do it all the time. Last year, they turned their sixth-round pick into a seventh-round pick and cornerback Jason McCourty. This year they traded a fifth-round pick for Michael Bennett.
The Steelers acquired a sixth-round pick for an injury-riddled right tackle on the wrong side of 31 with one year left on his contract. The Steelers did not need help on the offensive line but could they take a risk similar to Gilbert on defense? Could the Steelers flip a sixth-round pick for the cornerback version of Marcus Gilbert?
The Steelers have a variety of options with these picks. However, what they cannot do is sit on their six picks outside of the top 100 and hope that one of them hits like another Antonio Brown. The Steelers have draft assets. Having draft assets is good, but in this case, the Steelers must sacrifice some dart throws to pinpoint top 100 players.