Steelers 2019 NFL Draft Rumors: PIT Looking to Trade Up in 1st Round

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2019

A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet along the bench during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly making calls to move up in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Schefter added that Pittsburgh is specifically looking to plug holes on defense.

The Steelers own the No. 20 overall pick in the first round, but if they move up, it could be with an eye toward improving their secondary or adding depth to their front seven.

The Steelers are coming off a disappointing 9-6-1 season that resulted in them missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Offense was not the problem, as they ranked sixth in scoring, but they were just 16th in points allowed.

Pittsburgh allowed 27 touchdown passes last season and finished with just eight interceptions. The biggest area of need appears to be cornerback across from veteran starter Joe Haden. Steven Nelson and 2016 first-round pick Artie Burns are currently penciled in to compete for a starting job.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller predicted that the Steelers will take Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin in his final mock draft, but trading up could put Pittsburgh in position to select any corner they want, including LSU's Greedy Williams or Washington's Byron Murphy.

Another option for the Steelers would be moving up to grab an edge-rusher or an inside linebacker. Pittsburgh could use a better outside complement to T.J. Watt than Bud Dupree, and the draft is stacked with them, including Ohio State's Nick Bosa, Kentucky's Josh Allen, Mississippi State's Montez Sweat, Michigan's Rashan Gary, Florida State's Brian Burns and Clemson's Clelin Ferrell.

Two traditional linebackers are first-round locks in LSU's Devin White and Michigan's Devin Bush. Either of them could slot nicely in the middle of the Steelers defense with Ryan Shazier's playing future still in doubt.

Offense may not be as big of a priority, but the Steelers could stand to add some pass-catchers for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Wide receiver is an area of need after the trade of Antonio Brown. Oklahoma's Marquise Brown and D.K. Metcalf are possibilities. Iowa tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant could be on the radar as well.

Pittsburgh will have no shortage of options when the first round of the 2019 NFL draft begins Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET in Nashville, Tennessee.

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