NFL Draft expert pours cold water on possible draft target for Steelers QB position

Mel Kiper Jr. is not a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting Bo Nix out of Oregon at No. 20 overall.

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

While I may be higher on Oregon quarterback Bo Nix coming out than most, Mel Kiper Jr. does not think he would be a good fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers picking at No. 20. Kiper touched on his ESPN colleague Field Yates' mock draft selection of Nix to Pittsburgh at 20th overall. Although I think he could do quite well running Arthur Smith's offense in Pittsburgh, he does not have a very high ceiling.

Nix probably has the highest floor of any draft-eligible quarterback coming out, as he started all three years he played at Auburn, as well as the last two at Oregon playing for Dan Lanning. To me, I think he could be some variation of a Derek Carr at the next level if all goes according to plan. Unfortunately, he would be playing in the same AFC North division with three total studs if he landed with Pittsburgh.

Kiper picked apart Yates' mock draft that had Nix going to Pittsburgh while appearing on First Draft.

“The issue with Pittsburgh is the division. Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson. Then, you throw in the AFC and all the great ones there, which we’ve talked about a thousand times. But the division, I’m big on that. Because if you’re fourth – and they’re fourth by a mile, by miles. They can’t see the quarterbacks in that division they’re so far looking away. You’ve got to get better than the quarterback you had, who’s okay."

Kiper would then talk about the importance of hitting more than a single when drafting a quarterback.

“But in this division, you can’t have a single. A single’s not winning games for you. You’ve got to have a triple, home run, grand slam. You’ve got to do something big here. You swing for the fences, right? That, to me, is Justin Fields. … But to Pittsburgh, if you take Bo Nix – who’s shown the last two years at Oregon, he’s got the skillset necessary to be a decent starting quarterback in the NFL, maybe decent to good. That’s not what Pittsburgh needs. They have that in Kenny Pickett. So they have a Bo Nix in Kenny Pickett.”

Here is the entire episode of First Draft in which Kiper discussed Nix to Pittsburgh along with Yates.

Where should Bo Nix go in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft and what should the Steelers do at No. 20?

NFL Draft expert is way down on Bo Nix going to the Pittsburgh Steelers

Nix may come off the board sometime in the teens to early 20s. The earliest that would make sense for him to go would be to the Denver Broncos at No. 12. I have him as QB5 behind Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy in that order. All feel like locks to go in the top 12. McCarthy may fall a few spots past that, but there is no way he makes it to pick No. 17 or something.

Denver is about as early as he could go, as Williams, Daniels and Maye project to go one-two-three. While other teams picking outside of the top three need quarterbacks, it is hard to see the Minnesota Vikings picking at No. 11 passing on McCarthy. Should Sean Payton really want a quarterback, I don't hate the Nix fit. He can coach up quarterbacks. Nix should be less of a headache than Russell Wilson.

If Nix were to fall past the Vikings or Broncos, I would keep an eye on the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 13, the Seattle Seahawks at No. 16 and the Los Angeles Rams at No. 19. He could succeed in all three of those places, all of whom are on the clock before Pittsburgh. After that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be a candidate for him at No. 26 if they move on from Baker Mayfield. Teams could trade up, too.

As far as Pittsburgh is concerned, I tend to agree with Kiper's assessment that Chicago Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields would do very well with the Steelers. Along with his hometown Atlanta Falcons and the Raiders, those are the three teams I think Fields has the best chance of being traded to. If the Steelers trade for Fields, then drafting Nix is a moot point. But what if they do not?

I would say in that instance to take Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean to pair him with second-year pro Joey Porter Jr. to become stalwarts in the secondary for years to come. This does not solve the quarterback issue at all, but the Steelers still won nine games with Pickett as their primary starter. They may need to add a veteran backup. Maybe Taylor Heinicke makes sense if he gets released?

I will listen to Kiper's take of Nix not being a good potential fit with the Steelers. He knows his stuff.

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