2023 NFL Draft

‘We’re Not Taking A QB:’ Omar Khan Says The Obvious But Statement Needs Context

On Monday morning, Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan and HC Mike Tomlin spoke to the media in their annual pre-draft press conference. Aired live on the team’s YouTube channel, they talked about the team’s moves this offseason and previewed the 2023 NFL Draft, which starts this Thursday night in Kansas City.

When asked about the draft class in general and what positions along with cornerback present great depth, Khan listed several positions he feels have a lot of good options to choose from. He also named one position he doesn’t anticipate taking: quarterback.

“I mentioned overall it’s really good, but you get excited about the D-line group (being) good,” Khan said. “The O-line group is good. The corner group is good. The outside backer group is good. Some good quarterbacks… we’re not taking a quarterback. The tight end group is good. The receiver group is good. We just feel really good about the talent and really at every position.”

Khan listed nearly every position group as having quality depth but did throw in the caveat that while there are some talented QBs in this draft class, the Steelers don’t intend on taking one. Could this be a Freudian slip by Khan and the team’s draft plans as many draft analysts and fans anticipated this team targeting a late-round QB to add to the roster as QB3 behind Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky?

Personally, this statement from Khan regarding the QB position needs context. Sure, there are talented options at the position, including Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State C.J. Stroud, that are expected to go in the top 10 picks come Thursday night. There are also, names including Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker and Stanford’s Tanner McKee, that could sneak into Round 1 or go somewhere on Day Two of the draft. When it comes to these names at the top of the position, Pittsburgh should be completely out. They took their hopeful franchise QB last year by selecting Pickett 20th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft and have a quality backup in Trubisky.

Still, this doesn’t preclude Pittsburgh from addressing the QB3 spot on the roster, despite Khan’s comments about not taking a QB. Rather than stating Pittsburgh isn’t taking a QB at all, Khan may mean that the Steelers don’t intend to take a QB early with their premium draft capital. Their moves up to this point suggest that have at least some interest in adding a QB with a Day Three selection. They brought in Houston QB Clayton Tune and BYU QB Jaren Hall for pre-draft visits while speaking with Tune at the Combine as well as UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

The chances of the Steelers addressing the QB position with a pick in the first four rounds is slim to none, much like Khan mentioned above. This shouldn’t preclude Pittsburgh from targeting and potentially selecting a QB on Day Three of the draft with one of its seventh-round picks or potentially a pick in the fifth or sixth round, should the team acquire more draft capital to do so. That is the range where Tune and Hall are projected to go, according to NFL Mock Draft Database. Given the need for a competent QB3 on the roster to groom behind Pickett and Trubisky, one who can eventually step in as Pickett’s primary backup, we should expect a late-round QB to still be in-play for Pittsburgh.


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