The Steelers are in a very sweet spot indeed for adding excellent picks in the second, third and fourth rounds, as well as (possibly) draft picks next year and even the year after.
Here's why ...
Atlanta, Miami and Carolina all need quarterbacks and will be jockeying to swing deals with teams sitting in the mid-20s of Round One.
Four teams, all vying for three quarterbacks:
The Steelers, at No. 23, are in the ideal spot and carry the most trade leverage of any team late in the first round. The Steelers hold all the cards.
The Steelers could conceivably swap their pick at 1.23 for Atlanta's two second-round picks at (34 & 37 overall), and ask for Atlanta's second pick in the third round (a compensatory pick, No. 98 overall); plus, say, a No. 6 pick from next year's draft (or a No. 5 two years down the road) as a throw-in. They might not get all that, but they could ask.
A trade with
In any case, with the leverage the Steelers hold, they could play
In fact, the Steelers have other potential trade partners, too, including …
Thus, the Rams may be willing to trade up into the first round -- like, say, to pick No. 23, if
There's extra motivation here for the Rams. Next up on the clock following the Steelers, at No. 23, are the Titans with the 24th pick. They, too, need a wide receiver and also may be eyeing either Jackson or Malcolm Kelly – which means
What makes the Steelers position at No. 23 even more enviable is that at least two teams behind them are also looking to trade down.
Seattle GM Tim Ruskell says several teams with no shot at Boston College QB Matt Ryan in the first round are calling to ask about moving into
If the Steelers could screw
Ahead of the Steelers, however, the Redskins, who hold pick No. 21, also are open to trading down.
According to The
"The Redskins have nine picks, including three compensatory picks -- an extra one in the third round and two additional seventh-round picks. They do not have a fourth-round selection.
With so many picks, the Redskins plenty of flexibility to maneuver on draft day. Again, The
"The age and the health of the Redskins' offensive line is a pressing concern.
So, for what it's worth, the Redskins appear to be targeting some of the same players that almost certainly interest the Steelers, specifically
We already know about Albert, and he'll be gone by the time Steelers go on the clock at No. 23. The Redskins would be crazy to pass him up, if he's still available when their turn comes around at No. 21.
If Albert is gone by the time the Redskins pick, Kenny Philips would be an ideal fit for the safety position left vacant by the murder last year of All-Pro Sean Taylor. Still, the Redskins have other needs and might feel they can address the safety position just a bit later in the draft, if they trade down. Which could put Phillips square in the Steelers' lap and would make for a tough decision whether to select him – the best player in the draft at his position – or trade down.
For what it's worth, Malcolm Kelly just may have run (slowly) and talked himself (loudly) all the way out of the first round, according to some reports. He's run sluggish 40 times in workouts this spring and had at least one mouthy outburst that characterized him as a finger-pointing, me-first player, which reportedly turned off several teams.
The Redskins (like the Steelers) would like to add a tall, speedy, physical receiver and brought Kelly in for a visit last week. Kelly, at 6-4, 224, fits their need for a tall, physical receiver.
Again, from The
"Kelly, who declared for the draft after his junior season, is second on the Sooners' all-time list with 2,285 receiving yards and fifth with 144 receptions. At an April 9 workout for NFL scouts at
Merling a Question Mark
Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson, who has been unable to work out for NFL teams since undergoing sports hernia surgery in March, but he will have an on-campus workout for at least 15 clubs on April 24, agent Jimmy Sexton said.
Round 1, Pick 23 (23)
Round 2, Pick 22 (53)
Round 3, Pick 25 (88)
Round 4, Pick 24 (123)
Round 5, Pick 21 (156)
Round 6, Pick 22 (188)