How the Allen Robinson Trade Affects the Pittsburgh Steelers' Draft

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The 2023 NFL Draft is next week and that's all everyone in the media is talking about when it comes to football.  However, on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers changed the headlines by making a splashy trade in which they acquired wide receiver Allen Robinson from the Los Angeles Rams.  After just one season with the team, Robinson, along with the Rams' 7th round draft pick was traded to Pittsburgh for the Steelers' 7th round pick.  Not only is this a good move for the Steelers, but it could also be a big indicator of how they're going to approach the draft.

With this deal, the Pittsburgh Steelers add a veteran talent to a young receiving corps.  Robinson joins Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Calvin Austin III, along with tight end Pat Freiermuth, to round out a pretty talented group.  It also comes with little risk.  

The swapping of draft picks resulted in a 17 draft spot downgrade for the Steelers, and the Rams are also taking on some of Robinson's salary, so Pittsburgh is only on the hook for $5 million of his contract this season.  The Rams are on a downward trajectory after being on top for many seasons so they were clearly just trying to get rid of some of Robinson's salary.  Therefore, the Steelers stepped in and took advantage of a great opportunity.

Robinson is known around the fantasy football world for having talent but never playing with a talented quarterback.  Therefore, over the years, he has underwhelmed, never managing to meet output expectations.  This will be his 10th season in the NFL and fourth different team.  

He was a second round pick out of Penn State in 2014 for the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he played four seasons.  He then moved on to the Chicago Bears for four seasons before joining the Rams for the 2022 season.  The Jaguars and Bears of those years don't scream good quarterback, so he was expected to have a career turnaround given the opportunity to play with Matt Stafford in Los Angeles.  However, Stafford got hurt early in the season and Robinson's stats suffered once again.  

Robinson also has a similar build to Pickens and could prove to be a good mentor to him and his game.  He has been injury-prone throughout his career as well, so not having to be the main guy in the passing game could do Robinson some good.  Again, this is a decent-upside move with low risk that could do wonders for the Steelers, both on and off the field.

Trade terms agreement:

🏈Steelers get WR Allen Robinson and a 7th-round pick (No. 251).

🏈Rams receive 7th-round pick (No. 234).

Rams pay $10.25 million of Robinson’s salary; Steelers pay remaining $5 million. Robinson is scheduled to be in Pittsburgh for a physical Wednesday.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 18, 2023 >

The other big question attached with this deal is what does this trade mean for the Steelers' draft day decisions?  I never really found it to be a true possibility that they would select a wide receiver in the first round but I would say this officially eliminates them from doing so.  People still want to cling to the idea of reuniting quarterback Kenny Pickett with wide receiver Jordan Addison but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense given the other needs that the Steelers have.

It does look like the Steelers are doing everything they can to build around their new franchise quarterback.  However, now that they've supplied him with enough weapons, one would think they may want to protect him, right?  Given that Pickett has already suffered several concussions in his young career, let's keep him as clean as possible.

That definitely puts an offensive lineman in the mix for the Steelers.  However, that may require trading up to get one of the top guys, which isn't out of the realm of possibility.  After all, what's the point of giving Pickett all of these weapons if he doesn't have time for them to get open?  While defense can still win championships, offense has become the name of the game.  If receivers are off the board after this trade, an O-lineman is clearly at the top of the list for Steelers' offensive needs.

Or, maybe now the Steelers feel they have built up the offense enough.  After losing Cam Sutton to free agency, they may look to drafting a cornerback.  While the signing of Patrick Peterson helped that situation a bit, it'd be nice to have a corner selected in the Top-20 that Peterson could take under his wing.

I'll be talking more in the coming days about what I expect the Steelers to do with their first-round pick.  What I can say now, though, is that I think the Steelers trading for Allen Robinson takes them out of the running for any potential receivers with the 17th overall pick.  Robinson is a great addition to an already deep receiving bunch and can only help the Steelers this season.  This was a great trade that comes at very little risk.  If he can stay healthy, I think he can be a key contributor this upcoming season and bring a needed veteran presence to a very young offense.