The Pittsburgh Steelers clearly need to draft a quarterback of the future but is their decision in the 2022 NFL Draft really down to two prospects?
Perhaps the worst-kept secret this offseason and, specifically, leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft is that the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the market for a quarterback. Sure, Mason Rudolph is on the roster and the club signed Mitchell Trubisky in free agency. But that still leaves them searching for a long-term replacement for franchise legend Ben Roethlisberger.
With the draft now just days away, the Steelers’ proverbial wishlist as to who they would like to add as their potential signal-caller of the future might be down to two players — at least in terms of the No. 20 overall pick.
Breaking down the outlook for the first round, Albert Breer’s draft-week MMQB column contained this tidbit for the Steelers, indicating that their focus at quarterback is down to Malik Willis out of Liberty and Kenny Pickett out of Pittsburgh:
"The Steelers have done a ton of work on Willis, and have an ideal situation for the Liberty quarterback—they could redshirt him behind Mitch Trubisky, or charge their spread-offense guru of a coordinator, Matt Canada, with building the right offense for him to play early on. Pittsburgh also, for what it’s worth, had Pickett down the hall at their facility the last five years (Pitt and the Steelers share a practice complex), and it’s no secret how well-respected Pickett is in the Pitt program. If both are available at No. 20, it’s easy to see where GM Kevin Colbert might make his final first-round pick a quarterback for the next GM to build around."
Steelers draft rumors: QB decision down to Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett?
The indication is that Pittsburgh very much is all-in on Willis if he’s available to them. But when you look at a player with the tools that the Liberty product possesses in this widely-accepted weak quarterback class, imagining him dropping to the 20th pick is a bit tough.
Another interesting note from Breer, though, was that if neither quarterback was there, they could look for value and take a player who could fall with Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton being specifically mentioned. That is to say that quarterback is not a lock for Pittsburgh with their first-round pick if one of their guys isn’t still on the board.
As to what the team would do at quarterback thereafter if that were the case, that remains to be seen. However, if either Willis or Pickett is on the board with the 20th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, you can bank on the Steelers taking one of them.