There aren’t many out there who believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ long-term star of the future at quarterback is currently on their roster, which is why an increasing number of people believe that, whether they think they should or not, the Steelers will be looking to draft a quarterback early in the 2022 NFL Draft later this month.
But how early? Interestingly, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus actually suggested that the team could wait until day two, in the second round, to try to land their quarterback. Depending on who you ask, the potential quarterbacks available in the round could vary significantly. He wrote recently:
They had a strong contingent at the Senior Bowl to watch Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell, Carson Strong and Bailey Zappe. They’ve been out at quarterback pro days, and they’re hosting QBs on top-30 visits.
It’s not the strongest quarterback class, so this isn’t a great year to trade way up to grab someone such as Willis. They’ll have some competition from teams such as the Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, all of whom are picking in the Top 10, for quarterbacks. Nevertheless, if a player they like — such as Pickett or Ridder — falls, and if general manager Kevin Colbert wants to put the team in a good position with a quarterback of the future, then it’s possible they wait it out at No. 20 overall and take a QB there. It’s probably more likely at this point that they wait until the second round to take their QB of the future.
Now, it should be noted that Pro Football Focus has been an outlet more conservative than most in predicting the number of quarterbacks that will actually be drafted in the first round. A recent mock had only two taken in the first 32 picks. Meanwhile, many others have four quarterbacks taken in the top 20 selections, if not five in the first round altogether.
The two players around whom there seems to be the most confidence that they will be drafted in the first round, if not early in the round, are Malik Willis and Sam Howell. Most also believe that of Kenny Pickett, but there is a small contingent that believes he could slide into the second round.
Desmond Ridder, Carson Strong, and Matt Corral are the other quarterbacks who could potentially be available in the second round if the first round of the draft plays out conservatively for the most important position in the game.
Of course, it rarely plays out that way, and I wouldn’t expect it to, so unless the Steelers are looking at Strong or Corral to be their next franchise quarterback, I’m thinking they won’t have much choice but to draft one in the first if they are set on landing a quarterback.