Being a Steelers fan this past month has not been easy.
We have seen Big Ben Roethlisberger go from Super Bowl champion to chump. From Pittsburgh icon, to national disgrace. From one of the most marketable players in the NFL, to the punchline of every NFL related joke.
At this point, it wouldn't surprise any Steelers fan to see Roethlisberger traded before the draft begins.
What pick(s) could the Steelers get for Big Ben? Who would they draft? These are the burning questions that we as football fans have.
In the following slides I have outlined scenarios of where Roethlisberger could potentially land and who the Steelers would draft in return.
If this would happen, and the Rams traded the No. 1 overall pick to Pittsburgh in return for Roethlisberger, the Steelers would likely go one of two ways.
1.) The Steelers would draft Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State.
The thought process behind the Okung pick is simple. The Steelers are in desperate need of a franchise tackle, Suh doesn't fit into their 3-4 defensive scheme, and the team believes Dennis Dixon could get the job done at quarterback.
Dixon knows the team and offense, appears to be progressing nicely, and adds the element of the run from the quarterback position. With Dixon at the helm, Pittsburgh would get back to "Steeler Football," running the ball.
The team would make Mendenhall the feature in the offense, and veteran Charlie Batch and new tackle Russell Okung would help ease Dixon into
the starting job.
The Okung pick would certainly have an effect on the rest of the draft. Sam Bradford would fall to either Seattle at No. 5 or Cleveland at No. 7. As these are two of the teams vying for Jimmy Clausen, there is a chance he could fall to Minnesota at No. 30.
There would also be a ripple effect with the offensive lineman. With Okung gone, Washington would have to settle for Brian Bulaga. As a result, Trent Williams could move into the top 10 and go to Oakland at No. 8.
At pick No. 18, the Steelers would no longer be interested in OG, Mike Iupati, and would draft the best available defensive back. This would be either Kyle Wilson or Earl Thomas.
2.) The Steelers draft Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma.
Pittsburgh would make Bradford the franchise, and in doing so, hope that he never drags the team's good name through the mud. Veteran wideouts Hines Ward and Antwan Randle El would help Bradford with his transition to the pros.
The rest of the draft would play out as planned.
If the Steelers were to trade Big Ben, one would assume he’d be going to an NFC team, or at least a team outside of the division. If they sent him to the NFC, they would have to face him only once every four years or in the Super Bowl.
With the No. 6 overall pick, I believe Eric Berry, the safety from Tennessee would become the newest member of the black and gold.
Forget that the Steelers just resigned Ryan Clark and that they have the best defensive player in the NFL in Troy Polamalu. Eric Berry is a special player. Can you imagine a defensive backfield of Polamalu and Berry?
This pick would have only a small impact on the rest of the draft. With Berry gone, Jimmy Clausen stands a better chance of being a top 10 pick, going to Cleveland at No. 7 or Oakland at No. 8.
Having already drafted Berry, the Steelers would look for an offensive lineman at No. 18.
If Pittsburgh decides that Berry isn't the pick, they would try to rebuild their offensive line and draft Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa.
Bradford would already be off the board and I can’t imagine the Steelers spending top money on Jimmy Clausen. They would stick with Dixon, and if need be, make a push for Jake Locker or Ryan Mallet in 2011.
This situation would once again put Trent Williams in the top 10, going to Oakland at No. 8.
Kyle Wilson or Earl Thomas would be the pick for the Steelers at No. 18.
With the No. 8 pick, the Steelers could go one of many different ways. Let's break down two of the more interesting possibilities.
1.) The Steelers draft Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State.
The reasons to draft Bryant are obvious; they just lost Santonio Holmes to the Jets.
The reasons to stay away from him are even more obvious; they traded Holmes because he couldn't stay out of trouble. Oh, and then there's the Roethlisberger situation. It's well known that Bryant’s had his issues.
The effect on the draft would be sizable. Denver, at No. 11, would no longer be able to replace their former stud wide receiver, Brandon Marshall. Instead they would sure up their linebacking core, and draft Rolando McClain. This move would put a wrinkle in the New York Giants plan of replacing Antonio Pierce.
2.) Steelers draft Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee.
Despite resigning Casey "The Big Snack" Hampton, the Steelers need to get younger on the defensive line. Williams' 6'2", 329 pound frame would fit perfectly into the 3-4 defense.
This pick would change both Buffalo's and Miami's draft board. If Buffalo can’t have Williams, will they take a chance on Tebow, or possibly Trent Williams?
Miami, looking to strengthen their front seven, could take a stab at Sergio Kindle or Derrick Morgan.
Everyone in the league is down on Roethlisberger. This includes the team, Steeler nation, fans of the NFL, and the NFL front office. Bottom line, his stock couldn’t be any lower.
It’s quite possible that the Steelers may not be able to secure a top 10 pick for him. Heck, the most they could get for Holmes was a fifth round pick.
With the No. 13 pick, Pittsburgh could go in the direction of Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama.
James Farrior isn't getting any younger, Larry Foote is a one year solution, and Keyaron Fox has not shown that he can be an every down player. On top of that, Lamar Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison, and Rolando McClain would be the scariest linebacking core since the days of the Steel Curtain.
As McClain looks to be the only inside linebacker projected in the first round, this pick would have only a small effect. The Giants would now look to take a defensive end, probably Derrick Morgan or Brandon Graham. The Titans may take the other one.
If not McClain, Pittsburgh will still stay on the defensive side of the ball and draft Joe Haden, CB, Florida.
This move would strengthen a somewhat soft defensive backfield. Deshea Townsend is approaching 35, Bryant McFadden bolted for sunny Arizona after the Super Bowl win, and Ike Taylor is shaky at best.
This move would result in a complete defensive back shakeup. San Fransisco would settle for Kyle Wilson, the Falcons for Earl Thomas, and the Texans for Chris Cook. Basically, every defensive back would move up in the draft.
A trade to the Cardinals makes more sense than most could imagine.
The Cardinals are already littered with Pittsburgh ties. Larry Fitzgerald went to Pitt, Steve Breaston is from the area, Russ Grimm was the offensive line coach for the Steelers, and head coach Ken Wisenhunt was the offensive coordinator when the Steelers won the Superbowl in '05.
In addition to all of the Pittsburgh ties, the Cardinals need a new quarterback.
If Pittsburgh was to receive the No. 26 pick, I see them drafting Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida.
In this situation, the Cowboys would have to hope Anthony Davis was still on the board. The real effect would be on the Indianapolis Colts, at No. 31, as they need to revamp their offensive line as well. Would Rodger Saffold move into the first round?
At No. 88, the Steelers would go after Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford. Without Big Ben, it’s quite obvious the Steelers would focus on their running attack. They just lost Willie Parker to the Redskins, and Rashard Mendenhall has proven he is not the most durable back in the league. A two headed attack of Mendenhall and Gerhart would be very difficult to stop.
The only thing left to do is watch and see how everything unfolds. Enjoy the draft!