It feels like just yesterday that the 2021 NFL Draft cycle ended. That doesn’t stop the draft community from turning the page quickly to the 2022 NFL Draft though, despite the current NFL season being nowhere close to kicking off.
On Tuesday, USA Today Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling dropped his way-too-early 2022 two-round mock draft and had the Steelers addressing offense early for the second straight season, this time grabbing a hopeful QB of the future and a hog Molly up front to try and protect that new signal caller.
Easterling’s order of selection was based on 2021 Super Bowl odds, which had the Steelers slotting in at No. 13 overall in the mock. That would mean the Steelers picked inside the top 15 (without trading up) for the first time since 2014, the year the team selected Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State.
With the 13th pick, Easterling projects the Steelers to add its possible QB of the future, grabbing Southern California’s Kedon Slovis, marking the fourth QB to come off the board in the top 15.
Slovis would have to declare early for the draft as he’s a junior in 2021. At USC, Slovis has thrown for 5,423 yards, adding 47 touchdowns to 16 interceptions with a 70% completion percentage in two years as a starter with the Trojans.
Though Easterling does not provide any analysis behind the selection, it’s clear that the Steelers could – and probably should — be in the market for its next franchise signal caller in 2022, especially if Ben Roethlisberger retires once his contract voids five days after the end of the 2021 season.
Along with the addition of Slovis in this hypothetical exercise, Easterling then has the Steelers adding Washington State offensive tackle Abraham Lucas in the second round at No. 45 overall, going heavy on PAC-12 players, sticking with the Power 5 mantra.
A three-year starter with 30 career games under his belt, Lucas projects as a right tackle right tackle in the NFL at 6’7″, 319 pounds, better in the run game than in pass protection as a middling athlete.
Should the Steelers add Slovis and Lucas in the first two rounds as Easterling projects, they’d find themselves with a future franchise QB and a key run blocker up front, continuing to reshape an offense that has become one-dimensional in recent years.
However, it’s way too early to project true needs and identify guys that could be Steelers in the draft process as of this writing. It’s a fun exercise though, one with endless possibilities.