The Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears have discussed a trade involving the ninth overall selection, according to a report. The Steelers could be looking to move up for a left tackle or cornerback, and the Bears could be looking to execute the double trade-down after previously trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. The Steelers should pursue a deal with the Bears.
Steelers general manager Omar Khan is currently equipped with the No. 17 overall selection. Pittsburgh could be targeting an offensive tackle like Georgia’s Broderick Jones, Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, or Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. Even Tennessee’s Darnell Wright is starting to receive some top-15 buzz.
Khan should be searching for an upgrade at left tackle. Current starter Dan Moore Jr. isn’t a long-term solution. Moore allowed 7.0 sacks and was whistled for 10 penalties throughout 2022, according to Pro Football Focus. Moore scored a relatively average overall grade of 62.4 from PFF as a result.
By trading up to No. 9, Pittsburgh would be leapfrogging an abundance of offensive tackle-needy teams in the process. The Tennessee Titans (11th overall) and New York Jets (13th overall) are especially expected to possess an interest in drafting an offensive tackle. Pittsburgh could get strategic by beating them to the punch.
An aggressive move for a tackle would be about building around franchise quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett flashed promise as a first-year signal caller, and Khan should feel comfortable surrounding him with a stronger supporting cast. The Steelers have revamped their offensive line in recent offseasons. They added Isaac Seumalo in free agency this year and James Daniels last offseason. Trading up for a left tackle would help the Steelers complete their offensive line transformation.
The cost wouldn’t be cheap but is worth the price of admission for Pittsburgh. The Steelers would obviously trade the 17th overall selection to Chicago. Khan could put together an enticing package that includes Pittsburgh’s No. 49 selection, and an additional mid-round pick from the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s worth acknowledging the Steelers own No. 33 overall, which originally belonged to Chicago and went to Pittsburgh in the Chase Claypool deadline-day trade.
Alternatively, the Steelers could be targeting a cornerback—I believe an offensive tackle would be the apple of their eye, but can’t rule out a cornerback. The Steelers allowed a 19th-ranked 222.3 passing yards per contest. Stingier results are required to compete for the division title with Joe Burrow and his embarrassment of pass-catching riches.
If a cornerback is behind Pittsburgh’s motive, they’d be leapfrogging corner-needy teams like the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 10), New England Patriots (No. 14), and Washington Commanders (No. 16 overall). A trade-up could position the Steelers to draft Devon Witherspoon, Christian Gonzalez, or Joey Porter Jr., the latter of which is the son of Steelers all-time great Joey Porter.
Bears general manager Ryan Poles would be equipping himself with additional immediate and future draft capital. Poles’ roster is nowhere near true contention status. Poles will continue building the Bears in his vision. Poles previously admitted possessing an interest in executing a double trade-down.
The 2023 NFL Draft will be loaded with draft-day surprises. The Bears already shook up the landscape by dealing the top overall selection to Frank Reich’s Panthers. Don’t be shocked if the Bears are involved in additional draft-day movement, this time with the Steelers.
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