PITTSBURGH -- Sports Illustrated’s Peter King unveiled a most interesting mock draft Tuesday morning, and not just because the veteran NFL writer has the Texans taking Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack No. 1 overall instead of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
King’s mock draft featured a handful of trades, including one between the Steelers and the Eagles. In King’s scenario, LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was still available at No. 15 and the Eagles gave the Steelers a second-round pick to swap spots with them in the first round. The Steelers, in King’s mock, moved down to No. 22 overall and were still able to land Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Such a trade seems like a win-win scenario for each team.
The Eagles need to replace Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson and Beckham is arguably the third-best player at the position that is easily the strongest one in the draft. Athletic and fluid, Beckham has the potential to become a premier route runner, and he can line up all over the field. He would give the Eagles added value as a punt returner, something that Jackson also did well in Philadelphia.
The Steelers, meanwhile, would address a glaring position of need by taking Fuller, who appears to be a good fit for their defense. They would also add a second-round pick in a draft where first-round talent is going to seep into the second round because it is so deep.
Let’s take a closer look at this scenario from the Steelers’ perspective.
General manager Kevin Colbert said on Monday there are 19 players in the draft that the Steelers would be “very happy” taking in the first round.
The Steelers' list presumably doesn’t include any quarterbacks and at least one player from the position will be taken in the top 20. And probably two will go in that range since there are enough teams desperate enough to find a long-term fix at quarterback that they will overdraft one.
There is also a good chance that at least one player will be taken in the middle of the first round who is not among the 19 the Steelers covet with their first pick for whatever reason.
Do the math and it strongly indicates but doesn’t guarantee that the Steelers could move down to No. 22 in the first round and still get one of the players they are targeting.
Colbert said the Steelers won’t consider trading down in the first pick until they are on the clock and they know which players are available at No. 15. If a team like Philadelphia came calling with the offer that King has in his mock draft, it would be a no-brainer for the Steelers to make the trade if there are still enough players on their list of 19 that they get one of them at No. 22.
Or it could be a calculated risk worth taking if there is a good chance the Steelers get one of the players they have targeted in the first round while adding a second-round pick.