NFL Draft

McShay Early 2022 Mock Draft: Steelers Select Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder 16th Overall

With the 2021 NFL Draft now behind us, are you ready to think about what might happen during the 2022 NFL Draft? Especially in the first round for the Pittsburgh Steelers? If you are, you’re in luck. Todd McShay of ESPN has released his first mock draft of 2022, and it includes the Steelers selecting a quarterback in the first round.

McShay has the Steelers selecting Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder at 16th overall, and below is his reason for going that direction.

Another QB! We just watched five go in the first 15 picks last week, and now we could see as many go in the first half of Day 1 again. Pittsburgh has Ben Roethlisberger back for one more season (2022 is a void year on his contract), so it should absolutely be in the QB market at the draft. Ridder has done a little bit of everything at Cincinnati, throwing for at least 2,100 yards and 18 TDs in three straight seasons. And the 6-foot-4 redshirt senior averaged 6 yards per carry and scored 12 times on the ground in 2020.

Are you in shock? I’m not. I guess the biggest shock is that McShay has the Steelers drafting 16th overall in the first round.

As for McShay mocking Ridder to the Steelers, I guess it is fairly plausible that it could work out that way with us being roughly a year out.

At Cincinnati in 2020, Ridder, who reportedly measures in at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, completed 66.2% of his passes for 2,296 yards with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions this past season as part of the school winning its first nine games before losing 24-21 to Georgia in the Peach Bowl. For his 2020 efforts, Ridder earned American Offensive Player of the Year honors and was a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award.

In three seasons at Cincinnati, Ridder has 6,905 passing yards with 57 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He is 30-5 as Cincinnati’s quarterback, which makes him the winningest Bearcats signal-caller in team history.

As McShay indicates, the contract of Steelers’ long-time starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is set to void five days after the 2021 Super Bowl. While the Steelers do now have backup quarterback Mason Rudolph under contract for the 2022 season, he’s the only one of the four currently on the roster with that distinction.

There has been quite a bit speculation that Roethlisberger might wind up playing one or two more seasons past this upcoming season, especially if the Steelers make a deep playoff run in 2021. If, however, the Steelers were to make a deep playoff run in 2021, they surely would be picking later than 16th in the 2022 NFL Draft. That makes them unlikely to be in a good spot to draft Ridder, if he maintained his first-round status come that time.

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