Everybody knows that the Pittsburgh Steelers are interested in the quarterback class this year. They have extensively researched all of the top prospects, and are completing that process this week with the final in-person visits to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
But that doesn’t mean they will definitely be drafting a quarterback. For starters, it certainly doesn’t mean that there are three or four, let alone five or six, quarterbacks amongst the top 20 players on their first-round draft board. And so, it’s far from guaranteed that they actually take one.
That’s the scenario that Sam Monson sees playing out in his latest mock draft for Pro Football Focus. He has the team addressing the offensive line instead of the position under center because he doesn’t believe the quarterbacks they would draft at 20 will be available. They add a first-round tackle in Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann. He writes:
I could be convinced the Steelers draft a quarterback with this pick, but I think the two most likely to make them pull that trigger are already gone in this scenario. Raimann is just scratching the surface of how good he can be as an offensive tackle, and he’s already very good. He allowed just nine pressures across almost 500 pass-blocking snaps and gave up one sack in two years at tackle. He already looks the part of a polished NFL player, and he has only played the position for two years.
Raimann is certainly an interesting prospect, one the team was advised by ESPN to keep an eye on during the pre-draft process. He has already been projected to the Steelers more than once, most recently by Pro Football Network just days ago. You can read our own Jonathan Heitritter’s draft profiles for him here.
Tackle is an obvious position of need, with the entirety of the position consisting of Chukwuma Okorafor and Dan Moore Jr. as their projected starters, and Joe Haeg, Chaz Green, and John Leglue as their potential reserves. Neither their starting lineup nor their depth chart should be considered set in stone.
Raiman is the fifth tackle Monson has going off the board, the first being NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu, taken fifth overall by the New York Giants. Evan Neal of Alabama goes to the Washington Commanders at 11, followed by Mississippi State’s Charles Cross to the New Orleans Saints at 16, and Trevor Penning out of Northern Iowa to the Los Angeles Chargers one pick later.
As for the quarterback position, Pro Football Focus has been more conservative in its projections for this position than most outlets, and only has two quarterbacks off the board by the Steelers’ pick at 20, but both go in the top 10.
Kenny Pickett out of Pittsburgh is Monson’s first quarterback off the board, going to the Carolina Panthers at six. The Seattle Seahawks, after trading Russell Wilson, get their next starter at number nine with Malik Willis.