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2017 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers thinking future QB with DeShone Kizer selection

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers really attempt to bolster the future at the QB position by taking a signal caller in the first round?

NCAA Football: Duke at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers need to think about the quarterback position, and that was the case before Ben Roethlisberger talked retirement at the end of the 2016 season. The Steelers quarterback hasn’t started to slump yet, but the beating he has taken in his time in the league had to show the organization he will be thinking about calling it a career sooner than later.

It seems as if the team is sincere in their quest to possibly find their next quarterback, and that has been clear with the amount of time they have spent at quarterback pro days and meetings with different signal callers.

When you look at the majority of mock drafts among the mainstream media, most have the Steelers taking either a linebacker or cornerback with the 30th pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. However, the latest Charlie Campbell mock draft from WalterFootball has the black and gold thinking quarterback in the first round with them taking Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.

See their reasoning behind the selection:

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

The Steelers could start planning for life after Big Ben. Sources have told me Pittsburgh likes Kizer.

Of the quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer has the best skill set and the most upside. The 6-foot-4, 233-pounder has a strong arm that can make all the throws for the NFL. He has also flashed superb accuracy and an ability to make accurate touch passes downfield to beat good coverage in tight windows. Kizer can also make beautiful passes in the face of a pass rush. Additionally, he has the mobility to buy time for his receivers, bail out his offensive line, and pick up yards with his feet. The big problem for Kizer is consistency as he is a streaky passer and player. He also had issues late in games with critical mistakes in crunch time, so his decision-making needs to improve.

In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. His completion percentage was thrown off by playing a game in the midst of Hurricane Matthew and his receivers consistently dropping well-thrown passes. He also was hurt by losing his No.1 receiver (Will Fuller), left tackle (Ronnie Stanley), center (Nick Martin), and running back (C.J. Prosise) to the NFL before the season. In 2015, Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He picked up 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground.

The pick certainly will come with a level of scrutiny, even in mock draft form, but Kizer does possess a skill set which could develop into a solid NFL starter.

The key word in that last sentence was ‘develop’, as Kizer wouldn’t be expected to step in and start from Day 1, but rather would be able to sit, watch, and learn from Roethlisberger the nuances of the Steelers’ system.

In fact, a plan such as this could be the perfect scenario for the black and gold. However, there are a lot of quarterbacks in the draft who could fill the wait-and-see mold, which makes you wonder if the team could go without drafting a quarterback in the first round, instead waiting until the mid rounds.