Avid readers of mock drafts have certainly picked up on the theme of Pittsburgh and quarterbacks in 2022. Even in the month since the 2021 draft concluded, some QBs have been linked on more than one occasion as possible Steeler picks, including players like Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder. In this week’s roundup, a new name enters the fold as a QB option, while another name repeats itself at the position.
The new contender to join the likes of Ridder and Kedon Slovis (also mocked to Pittsburgh in the last week) is Mississippi’s Matt Corral. This selection comes from Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings, who had this to say about that pick at 16th overall:
“The Steelers have put off the transition away from Ben Roethlisberger since 2019. 2022 might be the year they finally have to concede and move on to a new era. Roethlisberger’s physical ability is slowly dwindling, and he’s starting to become more of a hindrance than a help at the QB position. The Steelers might not be in optimal position to replace him immediately, but they have to start their succession plan soon.
Numerous names might draw support here as the sixth QB off the board, including Kedon Slovis, Phil Jurkovec, and Jayden Daniels. But I’m going to choose someone different: Ole Miss’ Matt Corral. Corral no doubt needs to tone down the turnovers, but beneath his volatile aura, he’s a supremely talented quarterback. He’s athletic, fearless, and incredibly natural off-script. A second year in Lane Kiffin’s offense could allow him to grow.”
As Cummings directly mentions, Corral is far from the first QB he mocked off the board. He had QBs going with the first two picks, another two in the top 10, and a fifth at 11 overall before getting to the Steelers.
At this point all are just projections whose stock could fluctuate, but Corral is one of the biggest projections among potential first-round QBs. He isn’t a popular name in early mocks, in part because he only became a full-time starter last season. In that season, though, he threw for 3,337 yards and 29 touchdowns. Working against that were 14 interceptions, including multiple games where he threw five or more.
There’s reason to believe for and against Corral as a first-round pick. What he does working with Lane Kiffin for a second season will cause his stock to alter one way or the other tremendously over the next year.
The other mock in this week’s roundup gives Pittsburgh a name mentioned in these roundups before: North Carolina QB Sam Howell. This pick comes from NFL Draft Diamonds’ Antoine Tshiyombo, who explains it thusly:
“Sam Howell won’t likely match his first two season as it is his biggest test. Howell how ever has escapability, good pocket movement with an Above Average arm, and Throws a sexy deep ball I could see him going as high as #1 with another performance like last year. Also could see him having a slightly worst season and fall off completely out of day 1.”
It’s a similar assessment to when Howell headlined this roundup a couple weeks ago. He’s got some tools that have him at the forefront of the No. 1 overall discussion. He also has some glaring weaknesses that could torpedo his stock if not improved upon in 2021.
The bigger surprise in that mock is Tshiyombo has the Steelers selecting sixth overall. That would be the first single-digit pick the Steelers have had since taking receiver Plaxico Burress eighth overall in 2000. Even drafting that high, Pittsburgh is still far from the first team targeting a QB. Tshiyombo had QBs drafted at each of the first three picks.