2011 NFL Draft: Analyzing the Steelers Trade Down Possibilities
Last week, I wrote an article making my case for the Steelers to trade down in the 2011 NFL Draft. That article had a very strong response from Steeler fans all sharing the same belief. So it had me thinking about the different trade possibilities for the Steelers.
The article I wrote last week came on the heels of multiple rumors that quarterback needy teams would try and trade down in to the end of the first round to select a quarterback and that the Steelers should try to be one of those teams.
In this piece, I will look at all the quarterback needy teams rumored to be trying to trade in to late round one. I used the NFL Trade Value Chart to determine which picks were necessary to match the value of the No. 31 overall selection.
Just for added measure, we will look at all the possibilities and then determine which rookies could be selected with the additional draft picks. You will also be able to see the likelihood of each trade as well.
Considering it has been 44 straight years since the Steelers didn’t have a first round pick, all of the cases are unlikely. But anything can happen on draft day…
Trade Scenario: Example Scenario
Just to be clear on how this works, I will give you an example.
Let's say the Steelers decide that they cannot go on operating without Mike Pouncey and are willing to trade away their other picks for him.
Mike Pouncey is rumored to go as high as No. 15 to the Miami Dolphins. That pick, according the the NFL Trade Value Chart, is worth 1,050 points. So in order for the Dolphins to get the proper value in return for the No. 15 overall pick, the Steelers will need to send them 1,050 points worth of draft picks.
In this case, the Steelers would have to send the Dolphins their first round pick (600 points), second round pick (276), third round pick (120) and their fourth round pick (44).
All of those picks together add up to 1,040 points, just below the value the chart says No. 15 is worth.
This is how the chart works and how, if both teams get equal value, the Steelers trade scenarios will look. One thing to remember is that when a team is willing to trade up for a quarterback, they are usually pretty desperate, so the Steelers could do better than each scenario may say.
Trade Scenario: Buffalo Bills
The Bills need a quarterback, maybe not as badly as other teams, but they will need someone to lead the franchise, and Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't it. Fitzpatrick is a heck of a fill in until that franchise quarterback does get to Buffalo, though; I will say that about him.
If the Buffalo Bills don't take a quarterback with their first overall pick, they could be one of the teams to trade up with the the Steelers.
In the case that the Bills and Steelers do make a trade for the 31st overall selection, the Steelers would receive from Buffalo:
2.2 (34th overall)
4.3 (100th overall)
Together, those two picks are worth 660 points, so over the value of the 31st overall selection. That 60 points is the equivalent to the 117th pick or the 20th pick in the fourth round. Considering they could be trading up for a their franchise quarterback, I can see the Bills ignoring the fact they are overpaying based on the chart.
This trade will still leave the Bills with a pick in every round with the second round being the only exception. This trade could very well happen; the Bills have need all over, so keeping a good amount of draft picks is a neccessity. The Bills could address their defense with Von Miller in the first round and still take a franchise quarterback like Ryan Mallett with the 31st overall selection
Now let's look at the possible draft picks the Steelers could net with their new picks. The Steelers should still have a chance to draft one of their top prospects with the 34th overall selection, so it is liklely they will take Aaron Williams, Nate Solder or Derek Sherrod. Likely they will take a tackle, and more than likely, that tackle will be Derek Sherrod. The Steelers will still be able to draft a cornerback in the second round. The best available would likely be Ras-I Dowling, but keep an eye on Aaron Williams or Brandon Harris falling in the draft.
So, 2.2 (34) - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Steelers need to add depth to their defensive and offensive line, and I think they were going to do that with their fourth round pick (128th overall). I think they take Lawrence Guy in my seven round mock draft.
Who will the Steelers take with their new fourth round pick? The Steelers have the luxury of looking for the best player available. There will be some solid cornerbacks available around that time. Shareece Wright of USC should still be on the board, and he is the type of corner that gets involved in run support just how Dick Labeau prefers his corners.
The Steelers could also luck out and have the chance to draft Curtis Brown from Texas. Brown isn't the fastest corenerback in the draft, but his production in college can't be questioned, and his value on special teams will be too much for the Steelers to pass up.
So, 4.3 (100) - Best cornerback available
Trade Scenario: Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have been linked to taking Cam Newton and to trading their pick so someone else can take Cam Newton. It would just be way too much speculation to try and look at a scenario where they trade their first overall pick and then try and trade in to the end of the first round, so we will assume they are going to draft Marcel Dareus with the No. 1 overall pick and they try to move in to the back end of round number one.
If the Panthers and the Steelers were to make a trade, Carolina would send Pittsburgh:
The Panthers don't have a second round pick, something that would be an absolute deterrent to the Steelers trade plans. If the Panthers were to trade with the Steelers, they would send all six of their remaining picks from the third round to the sixth, and it still wouldn't be worth the value of No. 31 overall.
If the Steelers and Panthers were to make the deal, the Steelers would then have 13 draft picks in 2011. The Steelers would have one pick in the first two rounds, however, severely hampering their ability to find a cornerback with 2011 starter potential and certainly would have to find a diamond in the rough if they want to upgrade their offensive line.
But, we will mock it anyway. Using my seven round mock draft, we will draft the new picks based on needs and the best players available.
Here are what we expect the Steelers' new draft picks to look like:
3.1 (65) - Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson: Jenkins will play defensive end in the NFL and could be a very good one for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Having the chance to take Jenkins here will change my mock a little. as they will likely pass on Lawrence Guy in this case. Still, Jenkins is a huge defensive end that could help the Steelers defensive line start to swat balls down at the line of scrimmage, something on Brett Keisel does well.
3.33 (97) - Shareece Wright, CB, USC or Curtis Brown, CB, Texas: I know, I know; it is pretty cheap to name two guys, but I definitely think the Steelers go after a few cornerbacks in this year’s draft and the added high pick gives them the luxury to take the best available, or somewhere between Curtis Brown and Shareece Wright.
4.1 (98) - Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton: This is the Steelers boom or bust pick. I actually feel dumb for saying they take Ellis here since I just mentioned his character flaws were too great for him to be a Steeler. Ellis does have the perfect frame and skill set to fit the Steelers 3-4 scheme and would be great insurance to Casey Hampton. The Steelers will only take a guy with as many red flags as Ellis if they have this many picks.
5.1 (132) - David Arkin, OG, Missouri State: I am a big fan of Arkin; he is the prototypical Steeler. A hard worker that never misses a beat, Arkin could be another Doug Legursky for the Steelers. The addition of Arkin makes the Steelers interior line one of the toughest, and nastiest, in the NFL.
6.1 (166) - Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU: I have said before that the Steelers could always look for a tall receiver to appease Ben Roethlisberger, and Tolliver could be that guy. They swung and miss on Limas Sweed in the second round, but won't put the same pressure on Tolliver. At 6'4" Tolliver obviously wins the deep ball and would be great for Big Ben. His character flaws could keep him from being a Steeler, however.
6.38 (203) - Greg Lloyd, ILB, Syracuse: Does that name sound familiar? It should; his dad was pretty good as a Steeler. The younger Lloyd and his dad have an awkward relationship, but Steeler fans will love him all the same. If you check my seven round mock, you will see that I have the Steelers taking an ILB from Temple. But what position do the Steelers love more than linebacker?
Trade Scenario: Cincinnati Bengals
The Steelers trading down with the Bengals would make for some very interesting storylines. It would signify the end of Carson Palmer's career and would have the Steelers more or less giving the Bengals their new franchise quarterback.
Could the two division rivals actually put their differences away and help the other out with a fair deal? You wouldn't think so, but the two teams could find even value with a deal in the 2011 NFL Draft.
In order for the Bengals and Steelers to make an inter-division trade, the Bengals would have to send the Steelers either:
2.3 (66) and 4.4 (101), which would mean the Bengals give more than even value (plus-44 points).
2.3 (66) and 5.3 (134), which would mean the Bengals give less than even value (minus-11 points)
Considering the Bengals desperately need to find a new quarterback, you could see the Bengals paying more than even value to the Steelers. This could actually work, but I think that Bengals' owner Mike Brown may just be too stubborn to make the deal.
We have already mocked enough fourth rounders in this slideshow, so you probably know which player the Steelers would select with the 101st overall selection. Instead, we will give you the mock with the fifth round pick.
2.3 (66) Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: The Steelers will take Sherrod because he is the best player available, and there will be decent cornerback prospects later in the round.
5.3 (134) Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon: The Steelers saw how good Clay turned out for the Packers and they love to stock up on linebackers. This isn't too crazy of a pick for the Steelers either. Keyaron Fox could be gone via free agency, and James Farrior isn't getting any younger. Matthews would have to compete with Sylvester Stevenson for the No. 3 spot, but good competition always brings out the best.
Trade Scenario: San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers could wait to go after a quarterback and stick with Alex Smith; it depends on new Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's confidence in the former first round draft pick. Until the 49ers trade up in to the first round to draft a quarterback, any speculation on Smith and Harbaugh's relationship is just that—speculation.
A Steelers-49ers trade could be the most logical of all the trade scenarios in this article. The 49ers don't have as many holes as some of the other teams listed, so they won't be as hurt by fewer draft picks. Their position in the draft also provides for one of the most fair trades of all of the listed scenarios.
If the 49ers were to trade up with the Steelers, they would then send the Steelers:
2.13 (45), 4.11 (108) and 4.18 (115)
Despite giving three picks, the 49ers would still be getting a better value according to the chart, just not by much. The total point value of these three picks is 592, or just eight points under the 600 points valued toward the 31st pick.
The 49ers would lose two fourth round picks, but would still keep a total of nine draft picks this year. The Steelers and the 49ers both seem to be in position to benefit greatly from this deal, but it isn't a guarantee the 49ers will even value a quarterback in this draft enough to make the trades.
Adding two fourth round picks would make the draft very interesting for the Steelers. One drawback is that they will move further back in the second round than in any scenario listed before. The Steelers likely won't be able to draft Derek Sherrod, but could still be able to draft a decent offensive lineman and a cornerback in this round.
2.13 (45) Brandon Harris, CB, Miami or Aaron Williams, CB, Texas: Brandon Harris has been slipping on draft boards across the NFL and could be available here. I think given the choice between the two, the Steelers would rather take Harris. Williams seems more of a fit for the Steelers' system but didn't overly impress the Steelers coaching staff. Harris is an extremely hard worker that puts football first and Mike Tomlin prefers athletes with the same attributes.
2.31 (63) Orlando Franklin, OG, Miami: It would be something if the Steelers took two Hurricanes in the same round. Pittsburgh Panthers fans wouldn't like it much, but Steeler fans could get very used to it. Franklin is a mammoth of a man and did impress the Steelers when they attended the Miami pro-day. Franklin is a tough, consistent lineman that would an immediate upgrade for the Steelers.
4.11 (108): Sione Fua, DT, Stanford: Fua could be a reach here, but he is a Haloti Ngata-type player that could end paying dividends for the Steelers. They need to add depth to their aging defensive line, and no position has fewer reliable replacements than at nose tackle. Casey Hampton is still performing at a high level, but he is 30 and it is time the Steelers invest in the future.
4.18 (115): Chris Hairston, OT, Clemson: The Steelers will have to wait on finding a sure fire tackle in the draft until next year, but Flozell Adams could always come back for another stellar year as a Steeler. Chris Hairston isn't exactly a poor prospect; he is about average in run support and pass support. His size and speed would be an interesting addition to the Steelers line however. Center Maurkice Pouncey moves better than any center in football, and adding Hairston's speed would make for a very interesting combination.
Trade Scenario: Tennessee Titans
If it were up to Chris Johnson, the Titans would go after Cam Newton in the draft. Although, Chris Johnson also thinks there is a chance Vince Young could still be their quarterback next year. In the case that Chris Johnson is wrong about all of that, there is always the scenario where they trade up for a quarterback.
It seems like Ryan Mallett and the Titans have been paired in the rumor mill since the end of the NFL regular season, and he could very well be available at the No. 31 overall pick. The Titans could be in position to take a quarterback in the first round, but there shouldn't be adequate value at the eighth overall selection.
The Titans and Steelers could always make a deal. If they did, the Titans would send the Steelers:
2.7 (39) and 4.12 (109)
The Titans aren't far removed from being the AFC's best team, and if they draft the right quarterback, the Titans could be back to the top of the standings. The Titans don't have a ton of holes, but need to add a few playmakers if they want to change their current trend. Trading with the Steelers would still leave the Titans with nine draft picks in the 2011 NFL Draft, enough to keep competition alive in the practice facility.
Likelihood: C plus
The seventh pick in the second round will likely keep Derek Sherrod as a Steelers, but there is the chance that he could be gone. In the case that Sherrod is gone, they could still have a chance at Marcus Cannon, a huge OT from TCU. Cannon isn't as polished as Sherrod, but he certainly has the frame to make waves.
The Steelers fourth round selection should be similar to my picks of Sione Fua, Chris Hairston or Casey Matthews. Steeler fans will end up loving this pick more than usual. The pick would be in the fourth round and 12th overall, and the Pittsburgh area code is 412.
Trade Scenario: Minnesota Vikings
The worst assumption I could make in this article is that Brett Favre is actually retired. The odds are against it, but until the NFL season starts without Favre, I won't count him out.
The Vikings will have to find a quarterback, maybe even a few, through the draft. The only quarterback currently on the roster is Joe Webb, who is a hybrid quarterback type probably best suited running with the ball. The need for a quarterback may be so bad they draft Jake Locker in the first round. That is actually more likely than not as Locker's stock continues to rise.
There is a chance the Vikings don't take Locker however, and instead decide to trade up in to the second round and draft a Mallet/Dalton/Ponder.
If the Vikings want to draft a quarterback at #31 however, they're going to have send Pittsburgh a few things first:
2.11 (43), 4.9 (106), and 5.8 (139)
The Vikings would essentially have two first round picks and then not pick again until the middle of the fifth round. For a team that has so many needs, I don't see this scenario playing out. The Vikings need help at offensive position besides running back, and on defense aren't much better.
This probably won't happen, but were going to mock it anyway...
2.11 (43) Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi or Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU: Whichever is still available, Sherrod could be gone, but 43rd overall could still see Cannon undrafted.
2.31 (63) Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia: Need to address the cornerback position.
4.9 (106) Demarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma: The Steelers could go with the best player available here, considering they have an extra fifth round pick later as well. The Steelers really want a back that can help in the passing game on third downs, and that is Murray's strong suit. This pick could surprise some, but it could also work out very well.
5.8 (139) Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh: The Steelers will be getting a very good defensive end at a great discount here. Romeus had an injury plagued season that cost him millions. Romeus could have been a first round pick last year, but chose to stick around an extra years in hopes of a Big East Championship. The Steelers need defensive line depth and Romeus is a great high reward player.
Trade Scenario: Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan loves quarterbacks; he has drafted quite a few in his time in the NFL. None have ever lived up to John Elway, but Shanahan will continue to search for his next Super Bowl winning quarterback.
The Redskins could very well draft a quarterback with their first pick (10th overall), in which case they wouldn't look to trade in to the first round. The Redskins could decide to wait, however, and take a receiver in the first round.
In the case that the Redskins do draft a position other than quarterback first, and want to trade up with the Steelers, they will have to part ways with:
Much like the Panthers, the Redskins are missing a few picks in this year's draft. Trading for Donovan McNabb last year hurt their chances of finding a quarterback this year. The Redskins don’t have a third or fourth round pick and would be forced to package their second, fifth, sixth and seventh round pick to move up to No. 31. That would leave the Redskins with only two draft picks this season.
Trade Scenario: Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are the dark horse of the trade up rumors. One minute, they seem to love Chad Henne, the next, they seem poised to draft a quarterback.
There have been rumors linking Ryan Mallett and the Dolphins, but they likely will pass on the Arkansas quarterback with the 15th overall selection. The Dolphins will likely improve their offensive line, making it a little bit easier for a rookie quarterback.
In order for the Dolphins to trade up in the draft, they would have to give the Steelers:
The Dolphins have very few draft picks of value in this year's draft and because of it will likely have to stick with Henne for one more season. The Dolphins have been known to surprise in the draft, however, so the chances they trade away everything for a quarterback are better than other teams in similar situations.
The Dolphins don't have the value to match the Steelers, however. Unless the Dolphins can find a way to package players and next season's draft picks in to a deal, I doubt the Steelers will pursue this trade.
Trade Scenario: Conclusion
- The likelihood of any trade isn't great
- The best fit would be San Francisco or Tennessee
- The least likely trade would be with Miami or Washington