Latest PFF Mock Draft Has Steelers Trading For QB Derek Carr For Two First-Round Picks

Mock drafts serve two primary purposes: They serve as an exercise to learn about both the draft process as it shapes up that offseason and the prospects themselves relative to the needs of the teams; they also serve as prime clickbait material, especially if you throw a lot of crazy things into the mix.

The latest mock draft from Pro Football Focus may have a bit more of the latter than the former, as Austin Gayle has not one, not two, but three teams trading out of the first round in order to acquire established franchise quarterbacks, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, who deal out with the Las Vegas Raiders to acquire quarterback Derek Carr.

Gayle has the Steelers sending their 2022 and 2023 first-round draft picks, as well as a 2022 third-round draft pick, for Carr, inheriting the remainder of his contract, which is one year for $19.8 million in base salary. Last year, the Las Angeles Rams sent the Detroit Lions two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a starting quarterback in Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, with whom they just won the Super Bowl.

The mock has the Raiders using their first-round pick acquired from Pittsburgh to draft quarterback Desmond Ridder out of Cincinnati at 20. With their own natural first-round pick two selections later, they add wide receiver Traylon Burks out of Arkansas. So they swap out one quarterback for another and get an extra first-round pick, and extra third-round pick, plus some cap relief by getting rid of Carr’s base salary of nearly $20 million.

While it is true that Carr has recently been the subject of a swirl of trade rumors, the vast majority of the articles you’re going to see about that are fueled by things like these mock drafts and ‘trade proposals’ that are based on no insider information. On the contrary, there are reports that the Raiders intend to sign Carr to a contract extension.

The 36th overall pick out of Fresno State in 2014, Carr has played his entire career for the Raiders, starting 127 games and posting a 57-70 record as a starter. He got them to the postseason in year three after a long period of organizational futility, going 12-3 before suffering a severe injury that set the franchise back a while, it seems.

However, he went 10-7 this year and got Las Vegas back into the postseason for the first time since 2016, throwing for 4,804 yards, albeit with just 23 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions. He has only thrown more than 28 touchdowns in a season once. He has gone to three Pro Bowls.

The Steelers are obviously in the market for a starting quarterback, and the team has not publicly shut the door on acquiring one via trade. Carr still has time on his side, set to turn 31 next month, and he does have talent, likely better than they can find in free agency.

Whether or not they would be willing to trade out of the first round this year depends on how they feel about the draft class, of course, and perhaps particularly the quarterback draft class. If they don’t see a long-term starting option under center but think they could get one via trade, that’s the only scenario in which they would pull the trigger.

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