Rumors are starting to become stronger of a possible Steelers trade up in the 2023 draft.  It started last week with a potential trade between Pittsburgh,  and the Chicago Bears for the 9th overall pick.  Now Peter King has heated up the rumor mill by hinting of the Steelers interest with Jalen carter in his latest column.  His quote in his latest piece states “Best rumor of the week: Steelers trading up from 17 to 9 if carter’s there.   There could be no more perfect coach for Carter than Mike Tomlin”.

Let’s take a look att he pros and cons of what a move like this might look like:

The pros:

The advantages to drafting a player like Jalen Carter are pretty obvious.  On the field, this is the top prospect in the entire draft by a wide margin.  Taking a talent like this, and adding him with Cam Heyward and Larry Oganjobi is a terrifying thought for opposing offenses.  Throw in the likes of TJ Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Alex Highsmith and this would be one of the best defenses fielded by this team in some time.

Jalen Carter is one of those big men with elite athleticism that don’t come around often.  He was a dominant force in the two time defending champion Georgia Bulldogs defense.  He stands 6’3”, weighs over 300lbs, and moves like a linebacker.  If you were building a defensive tackle in a lab to fit what the Steelers do on defense, Jalen Carter would be your guy.

If we are correct that Mike Tomlin wants to win with defense and a strong running game, this move would make all the sense in the world.  There’s really just the one not so small problem…..

The Cons:

A Steelers trade up for Jalen Carter is not without risk.  It’s well documented the issues off the field Jalen Carter has faced.  The incident where Carter was drag racing which ultimately led to a fatality concluded with no serious charges filed.  There is a broader concern with this prospect however.  ESPN draft expert Todd Mcshay has been reporting the issues related to Jalen Carter’s character since early on in the draft process.  He doubled down on this in his latest podcast First Draft by saying:

“There’s a lot of football character stuff, practice habits, not giving great effort in practice, talking back to coaches, coaches not being able to coach him hard, there’s a lot of that stuff.  All based on seven different sources that I have, so I’m not making anything up.  Just like I wasn’t making it up prior to the incident that happened off the field.”

This kind of stuff really makes a Steelers trade up significantly more risky.  The car racing wasn’t just one isolated incident.  There is quite a bit to be concerned about regarding Jalen Carter’s character.

The Conclusion:

We’re going to go ahead and agree with Peter King here.  If there’s one coach in the league who can get through to Jalen Carter it’s Mike Tomlin.  Anyone who can keep a lid on Antonio Brown for that long can look at Jalen Carter as child’s play.

The upside to acquiring this player is just too tempting.  Pittsburgh becomes a top 3 defense the minute they turn in the card at the draft.  We have hesitated putting Jalen Carter in any of our mock drafts so far because it almost seems too good to be true.  The longer this goes, the more likely it seems however. Steelers mock draft 3.0: Post Combine