It’s mock draft Monday and CBS’ latest one is bringing some extra flair to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top pick. In Ryan Wilson’s most recent projection, he not only has the Steelers drafting a quarterback but trading up for one. He has Pittsburgh moving from #24 to #13 in order to draft Alabama’s Mac Jones. Here’s his explanation.
“Maybe Big Ben returns for another season, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, the Steelers are looking for their next franchise QB and will have to trade up to get him. Two decades ago Jones, a traditional pocket passer, would’ve been a top-5 pick. In 2021, he’ll be valued less than the more athletic QBs in this class but has a chance to be as good if not better.”
It’s hard to argue with anything Wilson is writing there. Even assuming Ben Roethlisberger returns in 2021, the Steelers still don’t have their future quarterback on the roster. If they believe Mason Rudolph is that guy, and let’s hope they don’t, is that his contract expires at the end of the 2021 season, too. It leaves the future of the position very uncertain going forward.
Jones is projected to be the 4th or 5th quarterback taken in this class behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields. Jones will battle North Dakota State’s Trey Lance to be the next off the board. In Wilson’s mock, Jones is the 5th QB taken with Lance going #10 to the San Francisco 49ers. Lawrence, Wilson, and Fields all went in the top four picks.
Jones’ strengths are his accuracy, pocket presence, and a better-than-advertised arm. He had an outstanding 2020 season for the national champion Crimson Tide, throwing 41 touchdowns and 4500 yards. His biggest question marks revolve around his lack of mobility in an era where that trait is more important than ever.
Moving up to #13 would require a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers. Wilson doesn’t detail the compensation involved in such a deal. According to this trade value chart, the Steelers would have to give up their second round pick (#55), and likely their fourth round selection (#118) to go up eleven spots. Of course, teams aren’t beholden to charts and math and the cost to get the last remaining Top Tier QB in the class could skyrocket.