Zierlein’s Latest Mock Has Steelers Sitting Tight To Keep Kenny Pickett In Pittsburgh

With the 2022 NFL Draft just around the corner, it is becoming more and more difficult to find mock drafts that don’t actually have the Pittsburgh Steelers using their first-round selection at the quarterback position. Following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement and with only Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph on the roster, the team has already made it clear that their intent is to address the position in the draft, one way or another.

Lance Zierlein just published his third mock draft of the offseason, and for the third time, he has the Steelers drafting a quarterback. In his first mock, he had Pittsburgh trading up a few places to draft Malik Willis.

Since then, with Willis moving up the draft boards and into the top 10, Zierlein has had Pittsburgh focused on Kenny Pickett, mocking him to the Steelers in both his second and third mock drafts, though in his latest, he doesn’t expect that they will have to trade up to get him. He writes:

Outgoing general manager Kevin Colbert might be salivating over the prospects of adding Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis here, but Pickett is an ascending talent who could compete for a starting spot this season.

Interestingly, he doesn’t have Willis going as high in his latest mock as he did in his second, going to the New Orleans Saints at 16. He was the first quarterback taken in this mock, with Pickett being the second, and he has Matt Corral going 32nd overall to the Detroit Lions as the only three quarterbacks going in the first round.

How many quarterbacks will be drafted in the first has become a common debate annually around the NFL Draft. There tends to be a panic move for teams to draft their quarterbacks, especially once they start moving off the board, though, so there are some who expect that as many as four could be drafted within the first 20 picks, with Pittsburgh holding pick number 20.

Quarterback, of course, is not the Steelers’ only need. Zierlein alluded to Jordan Davis along the defensive line, but they also have concerns up and down the offensive line, as well as at inside linebacker, and at least for the moment, they remain in the market for a starting strong safety.

There are enough needs and wants for Pittsburgh to go in any number of directions with their first-round pick, but at this point, given all of the data that has been accumulated over the course of the offseason, it would be hard to see them passing up a quarterback that they like if available at pick 20.

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