Regardless of what happens later on this month in the 2022 NFL Draft, nobody can accuse the Pittsburgh Steelers of not having done their homework on this year’s draft class. They have taken every opportunity available to them to get to know the top prospects coming out of college this year, with the final stop being the traditional pre-draft visit.
One of those top prospects, Desmond Ridder, recently made an appearance on the Adam Schein Podcast, and he touched on his trip to meet with the Steelers at their facility, noting that it was his first visit with any team, though not his last.
“It was a great meeting and a great visit”, he told Schein. “That was my first time in Pittsburgh, so just being able to go around, see the city, the facilities, the offices, and just meeting everyone, it was a great experience. That was my first visit, and I thought it went well”.
The Steelers were front and center at his Pro Day, as they have been with all of the top quarterback prospects, and his stock has only risen since then. Some are even projecting that he could go in the top 10, though others don’t have him going in the first round at all.
Earlier on this offseason, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin admitted that the team was looking to target the quarterback position in the draft. Though that shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it was expected, it does solidify the reality of what their plans are, and history tells us they don’t really play smoke-and-mirrors games about their intentions.
Ridder said that he met with “everyone from Mr. Rooney all the way down”, referencing the team’s equipment managers and front-desk workers. “I try to make my way around to every single person, get to know them and for them to get to know me”.
It remains to be seen what sort of impression he left inside the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. It will certainly be interesting to see how the draft unfolds, and whether or not the team has its sights set on any one particular quarterback, which could coax them into being aggressive and moving up.
If they really feel strongly about the class, however, it would be more likely that they sit at 20 and make a decision simply based on who is available, and if there is a quarterback they love there, you can probably bet on them taking him.
But who is their favorite? Could it be Ridder? Malik Willis? Kenny Pickett? Sam Howell? Matt Corral? Carson Strong? Are they set on trying to draft a quarterback in the first round, or might they wait until day two depending on who is available at other positions in the first?
Following the tragic death of Dwayne Haskins, the Steelers are now left with only two quarterbacks—Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph. Joshua Dobbs is no longer an option, having signed with the Cleveland Browns. Even if they don’t take a quarterback in the first round, it would be surprising if they come out of the draft with no new arm.