It seems as if nearly all of the talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past month or two has been about the quarterback position, and at least since they signed Mitch Trubisky in free agency, that focus has been squarely on the rookie draft prospects—and which one is most likely to be wearing black and gold later this year.
While we can piece together enough to reasonable conjecture that the Steelers do intend to draft a quarterback, as early as the first round, we don’t really know who they might have at the top of their board, or how willing they might be to move up—or for whom.
That didn’t stop Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger from taking a stab at it. In a first-round mock taking a look at five trades they would like to see made, he has the Steelers trading up to 10 with the New York Jets to take the third quarterback off the board—Desmond Ridder.
He has the Carolina Panthers drafting Kenny Pickett at six, and the New Orleans Saints trading up to seven with the New York Giants in order to draft Malik Willis. Ridder makes three quarterbacks going in the top 10. And he has them giving up their 2022 first-round pick, a future first, and their 2022 fourth-round pick.
“The Steelers made this exact same trade in the 2020 Draft, moving up to No. 10 overall from the No. 20 spot to select linebacker Devin Bush Jr”, he said. “That deal wasn’t as pricey as the one proposed above, as there tends to be a premium placed on quarterback trades”. He adds:
PFF’s own Seth Galina broke down why Ridder is the most technical quarterback in this year’s class. It could make sense for the Steelers to target a pro-ready signal-caller who could step in and start from Day 1 while being surrounded by a roster that’s ready to win right away in a super competitive AFC North division.
Ridder protects the football well: His 2.8% turnover-worthy play rate over the last three seasons is the eleventh-lowest mark among draft-eligible quarterbacks in the FBS. In Pittsburgh, Ridder can continue to make smart decisions and get the ball to young playmakers in Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Pat Freiermuth.
In this hypothetical trade-based mock, no other quarterbacks go off the board until the 32nd selection of Matt Corral by the Atlanta Falcons. That means the Steelers could sit tight at 20 and have their pick of, at least, Corral, Sam Howell, and Carson Strong. Given that they were the team to draft Ridder, it’s also possible that he could be available at 20 in this scenario.