In the middle of the NFL’s dead period, per se, outlets across the country are trying to come up with unique angles regarding actual football content. NFL.com’s Chad Reuter did a great job of that Tuesday morning, dropping a seven-round, win-now mock draft featuring today’s NFL players based on the draft order of the 2022 NFL Draft, which featured a snake draft to better distribute the talent among the 32 teams.
Reuter used the usual mock draft concept to re-imagine the NFL landscape, allowing each team to build the foundation of a roster designed to win now, which was really cool. Curiously, Reuter had the Steelers going offense-heavy in the seven-round mock draft, with four of the first five picks landing on the offensive side of the football.
Picking at No. 20 overall in the first round, Reuter has the Steelers landing All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, who is currently a member of the San Francisco 49ers, and is on a Hall of Fame trajectory at this point in his career. In his career, Williams has made one First Team All-Pro, one Second Team All-Pro, and nine trips to the Pro Bowl.
“Williams will be 34 years old this season but will again be the top tackle in the league because of his excellent pass protection skills and dominating run blocking,” Reuter writes regarding the Steelers’ selection of Williams in his mock draft.
Curiously, current Steelers’ star T.J. Watt went No. 19 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles, one selection prior to the Steelers.
Elsewhere in the first round in the AFC North, the Cleveland Browns landed quarterback Matthew Stafford at No. 12 overall, the Baltimore Ravens drafted wide receiver Davante Adams at No. 14, and the Cincinnati Bengals landed running back Jonathan Taylor at No. 31 overall.
Following the selection of Williams in the first round, the Steelers turned around at No. 45 overall and drafted wide receiver Justin Jefferson in the second round. Jefferson, a current member of the Minnesota Vikings, is one of the top receivers in the NFL. He’s made two Second Team All-Pros in his first two years in the NFL, and has gone to the Pro Bowl each season.
“Once again, the Steelers find a value receiver in the second round of a draft. Figures,” Reuter writes.
Getting a receiver of Jefferson’s caliber in the second round of this exercise is a serious steal for the Steelers in this hypothetical exercise, giving them a dynamic game changer on the outside. That selection of Jefferson pairs well with the franchise left tackle and then the franchise running back, which the Steelers landed in the third round of Reuter’s exercise.
That running back? Current Browns’ star Nick Chubb at No. 84 overall.
Chubb is a three-time Pro Bowler and has rushed for 4,816 yards and 53 touchdowns in his career with the Browns, developing into one of the top running backs in the NFL to date.
“Seeing Chubb in a Steelers uniform might make Cleveland fans cringe, but Pittsburgh would love his speed/power combination,” Reuter writes.
Pittsburgh would certainly love the talent that Chubb is at the running back position. He’s an elite combination of speed and power, one that is one of the best talents at the position in today’s NFL.
The Steelers then followed up the run on offense with a move defensively, landing current Tennessee Titans’ safety Kevin Byard in the fourth round at No. 109 overall, edging out current Steelers’ safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in the draft slot, according to Reuter.
Pittsburgh then closed out the exercise landing current Steelers’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the fifth round, 2022 second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, a pass rusher, in the sixth round, and cornerback Rasul Douglas in the seventh round.
Overall, it’s not a bad haul by the Steelers whatsoever, though the quarterback position certainly leaves some question marks for the Steelers with them waiting so long in the exercise to land one. Nothing against Trubisky, but in a mock draft exercise with all 32 starters available, you’d expect the Steelers to come away in a much better situation than this.
It’s all hypothetical though, and with three franchise building blocks in Williams, Jefferson and Chubb aimed at winning now, it’s a solid haul overall.
Across the rest of the AFC North, the Browns landed Stafford, wide receiver Keenan Allen, edge rusher Montez Sweat, safety Javon Holland, offensive tackle Kolton Miller, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and kicker Justin Tucker.
The Bengals landed Taylor, quarterback Kirk Cousins, safety Derwin James, edge rusher Trey Hendrickson, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, wide receiver Hollywood Brown, and center David Andrews.
Baltimore landed Adams, quarterback Jalen Hurts, cornerback Xavien Howard, defensive lineman Leonard Williams, edge rusher Shaq Barrett, safety Tyrann Mathieu, and offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins in the exercise.