Do you see that? Maybe you smell it and see it. Don’t be overly alarmed because this smoke doesn’t come with fire. This is smoke that comes from National Football League coaches and general managers. It does nothing more than create a cloud that grows or lessens in intensity before oftentimes just drifting away. NBC’s Peter King put out the first real bit of Pittsburgh Steelers’ smoke this morning in his weekly column. He’s hearing the Steelers want to move up to number nine if Georgia’s Jalen Carter is still there.
For sake of argument here’s what it would likely cost the Steelers using the traditional “Draft Pick Value Chart.” The Steelers would have to trade picks 17 and 49 in order to get the Chicago Bears’ number nine selection. The math works like this.
Lots of chatter about the Steelers potentially trading up with the Bears. Per the Trade Value Chart:
#9 = 1350
#17 + #49 = 950 + 410 = 1360
That might sound like a lot right now, but look at the big picture:
Steelers get: #9 + #32
Bears get: #17 + #49 + Chase Claypool
— SteelCityBlitz (@SCBlitz) April 17, 2023
In other words, it’s almost a a completely equal trade. The problem is that the Bears would probably ask for more.
What Happens to Happen?
This entire scenario would mean that Carter would fall through the top eight teams in the Draft. This is by no means impossible because of the needs of those teams. One would assume that Carolina, Houston and Indianapolis would draft QBs. There are also arguments for Las Vegas or Seattle to look at QBs too. That could well mean that Carter could fall but there are also teams like the Lions, Seahawks, Raiders or Falcons that could easily take Carter.
Players like Will Anderson, Tyree Wilson, Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon are also considered “sure Top 10 picks” and could help get Carter pushed down the board. Therefore, it’s entirely realistic to suggest Carter could be there but we must also consider the Bears. Are they going to want to deal with the Steelers again? You’d have a hard time finding anyone who didn’t believe Chicago was absolutely fleeced by the Steelers when they sent a second round pick to the Steelers for Chase Claypool. I can’t see the Bears wanting to risk that again. Plus, let’s remember this was the number one pick before they traded down to nine. Do they really want to go down further?
The Risk of Making This Move
I have Jalen Carter listed as my number one overall prospect in this draft. I believe he would have that type of impact on a team. If you had told me prior to the National Championship game this was a possibility I would have said “yes” before you finished the question. The problem is that Carter now comes with a few red flags.
First off, he was allegedly drag racing with the two people who died following Georgia’s Championship parade. He’s cooperating and facing lesser charges than previously thought but do teams think this is an indication of poor decision-making? Secondly, when the Bulldogs held their Pro Day, Carter was almost ten pounds overweight. He struggled with his conditioning and didn’t even finish some of the drills. Lastly seems to be his attitude. Carter is refusing to make personal visits to any team outside the top 10. His agent told the other 22 teams if they’d like to meet with him then they’d have to go to his home.
In the end, this may all be moot. But as many of the League’s top pundits have already suggested, there isn’t a better coach to be with than Mike Tomlin if Carter is indeed in need of some growing up. They cite Tomlin’s ability to keep Antonio Brown focused and out of trouble for roughly seven years. It’s hard to disagree with that but there’s much more to this.
Throw the discussion of moving up out of the conversation. Even after this draft the Steelers are still going to have some holes whether in the starting 22 or in terms of depth. Therefore, giving up picks to get Carter may only make that situation worse. But… Carter is an exceptional talent that could instantly make an average defense better in any number of ways. Whether that happens in Pittsburgh remains to be seen.
Remember, the smoke will eventually clear and your line of vision will reveal much. Whether that’s a hulking defensive tackle from Georgia remains to be seen.