With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?
These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
Topic Statement: There isn’t a quarterback worth the 20th overall pick this year.
Explanation: Whether or not one of the Steelers’ top-graded quarterbacks will be available for them to select at 20, there is a question about the overall value of the class as a whole. Some are convinced that there isn’t a franchise quarterback coming out of college this year at all.
There is plenty of reason to be very skeptical about the overall quality of this draft class. It’s being widely regarded as one of the weakest quarterback classes in decades, and will probably be ranked at or near the bottom of all quarterback classes of this millennium.
The three most prominent quarterbacks less than a week away from the draft appear to be Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Desmond Ridder. Pickett has a low ceiling. Willis has a low floor. And Ridder is just thoroughly unremarkable.
Not one of these quarterbacks will ever actively lead a team to postseason wins and be the reason that they achieved it. And binding yourself to a quarterback who is at best a game manager is not the best way to spend a top-20 draft pick when you have so many other areas of the roster to address.
One factor to consider when it comes to this draft class is that it is being unfairly compared to its immediate predecessors, draft classes which have been some of the better ones in the past couple of decades. The jury is still out on 2021, of course, but 2020 brought Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, while 2018 gave us Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, and 2017 added Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Picking a quarterback is pretty much always, at least, a crapshoot. It’s a position where you just have to trust your scouting. If you love a guy, go and take him and give him every opportunity to prove to you that you were right. That alone makes it worth taking a guy like Willis or Picket or Ridder at 20 if he’s available there. Players aren’t scouting reports.