‘How Do They Attack This?’: ESPN’s Kiper, McShay Discuss Steelers’ QB Options Post-Senior Bowl

It’s no secret at this point in time that the Pittsburgh Steelers are heavily interested in the quarterback position this offseason following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers’ brass, led by head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert, made that all the more clear last week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL as they kept a close eye on the likes of Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett, North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder throughout the week, leading to the belief around the league that of the four, Willis will be the one that ends up in Pittsburgh.

However, there’s still plenty of time between now and the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, which could see a ton of moving and shaking in the top 20 when it comes to teams moving up for the chance to grab a quarterback. Knowing that the Steelers obviously need to address the QB position, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, appearing on their weekly podcast “First Draft”, discussed how the Steelers could attack the position this offseason, while also noting just how up close and personal Tomlin was throughout the week in Mobile.

“I’ve been going to the Senior Bowl for 23 years. So, you know, with all that time there, you get used to different coaches and GMs and what their habits are. Are they up in the booth or they in the in the stands, are they on the field?” McShay said. “And Tomlin’s always one of those guys who’s kind of, I call it hands on. He’s watching and he’s like five yards away from offensive line and defensive lineman drills spend a lot of time with the defensive backs and basically on the defensive side this year.

“Kevin Colbert, the general manager, is always on the field as well. Those two are…together at times. And then they’ll split up and look at different parts of practice. This year, it was interesting to watch because Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert, they would start the practice out, especially the individual drills early on, they would be with the defensive linemen and, and looking on the defensive side, the second, it got to competitive drills, like seven on sevens, team drills…those two would walk in unison and they were by each other’s side, the entire practice from the very first snap to the very last snap of practice, they were by each other’s side. They would walk over and be studying the quarterbacks the rest of the practice. So if it was a two-hour practice, it was probably 20 minutes on the defensive side when things started to heat up the other hour and 40 minutes were on the quarterbacks.”

That largely matches up with the reports that came out of Mobile all week long, especially from Steelers Depot’s crew of Alex Kozora, Tyler Wise, Jonathan Heitritter and Jacob Harrison being in attendance and watching Colbert and Tomlin like hawks looking for any clues they could gather.

Tomlin and Colbert spent a ton of time with Willis throughout the week, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering Tomlin has talked all season long about quarterback mobility, which Willis brings in abundance.

“It was cool to see those two studying Malik Willis from Liberty, Kenny Pickett, from Pittsburgh, Desmond Ritter from Cincinnati, Sam Howell, from North Carolina, really diving into those guys to try to figure out, all right, we’re picking at 20, which one of these guys — if it’s not Matt Corral from Ole Miss was the only one of the top four quarterbacks that wasn’t in mobile this past week. If it’s gonna be one of these guys, let’s make sure that we see every single competitive snap that we need to see out of them to get the most information we can get.”

Kiper was quick to jump on McShay’s thoughts, stating that the Steelers have to figure it out at the quarterback position – and fast — considering they sit fourth in the AFC North at quarterback behind the likes of Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow — who is in the Super Bowl — Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield.

“So in this division you’re fourth. You’re locked in at four quarterback, right?” Kiper said. “You can’t win anything being four. Denver found that out. You can’t be the fourth-best team to quarterback in your division. And they’re fourth by miles now with Big Ben gone. So what do you do? Do you go after one of these quarterbacks say, are we excited about any of these quarterbacks?

“I had Matt Corral going there in mock 1.0, had Kenny Pickett going a little earlier, had Malik Willis at 11 to Washington, right? So are they excited enough about one of those quarterbacks or do they make a move for Jimmy Garoppolo and give up a second?” Kiper added. “They don’t have a lot of picks this year…So think about giving up a two for Jimmy G. Washington giving up a two for Jimmy G – there’s gonna be some activity there. So do you feel it’s better to get Jimmy Garoppolo or draft one of these quarterbacks? We’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes down. It’s gonna be really interesting to see how Pittsburgh as the Steelers attack it because…they know what they need. You’re right. Todd, they had to be aggressively looking to these quarterbacks as they know, the three young guns that are in this division are not going away.”

There’s still so much to be determined at this point with the Steelers, especially ahead of free agency, but it’s quite clear they’re very interested in the crop of quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft, one of which is McShay’s most intriguing fit in the Steel City.

“I think Malik Willis is the most intriguing of them. And I don’t know that he’s gonna get to pick 20. In fact, I would bet against it,” McShay said. “I could see them kind of going all in on what they already have and trying to enhance that. And that is a great defense, a really strong run game, and now a quarterback with Malik Willis or even Matt Corral for that sake, coming in and now we get a numbers game advantage if the quarterback is willing and effective as a runner.

“So, you know, some of the RPOs and some of the zone scheme options that they have could really wind up benefiting them and they could become, you know, a little bit like Baltimore, especially earlier in Lamar’s career where they’re just absolutely living and dying on the run game. And then occasionally, you know, popping a big one, throwing the ball down the field. So I think Malik Willis, for some reason, to me, that seems like the best fit. Matt Corral could be a really good fit. Obviously Kenny Pickett is the hometown guy, and would make some sense, but it wouldn’t surprise me with their defense and run game if they wanted to get more of a mobile quarterback that could come in so they can completely lean in on what they already have as a team strength.”


To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!