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2018 NFL Mock Draft: A scenario where the Steelers take a quarterback in the first round

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Could the Pittsburgh Steelers target a quarterback in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft?

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a quarterback. There is no arguing this point, Ben Roethlisberger simply isn’t going to play forever. With Roethlisberger openly committing to return to the team in 2018, it would make sense the team look to the 2018 NFL Draft to potentially find his eventual replacement.

With no argument the Steelers need to find Roethlisberger’s replacement, the next topic of discussion is when the team should find this particular signal caller. Should the team look in the early rounds to find his replacement? Or are there other pressing needs which should take precedence?

The Steelers always follow the Best Player Available (BPA) draft philosophy, and this was on display in 2017 when the team took wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of the selection process. No one saw it coming, but it is safe to say it worked out. With this BPA philosophy in the back of your minds, it is possible to see a scenario where Pittsburgh sees a quarterback who they view as the future, in the first round, and take him over other prospects at other positions of need.

At Walter Football, they project the Steelers to do just that by selecting Lamar Jackson out of Louisville with the 28th overall pick in this year’s Draft.

See what they say about the pick:

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Teams believed Lamar Jackson would return to school, but he has opted to declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. Jackson has amazing upside because of his huge arm and great mobility, but he needs to work on his mechanics and ball placement. Sitting behind Ben Roethlisberger for a year or two would be ideal.

So, when looking at this selection, a lot makes sense, and plenty of questions arise too.

First, the Steelers taking Jackson would be a project, but being behind Roethlisberger could be the perfect scenario for their long-term success. Second, Mike Tomlin has always liked mobile quarterbacks, and Jackson certainly fits this mold. Lastly, his talent is undeniable. Not having to play immediately could give the Steelers the heir to the throne they have been searching for the past few offseasons.

On the negative side, taking Jackson, or any quarterback, would mean the team is pushing back their needs on defense. Inside linebacker, safety and even outside linebacker are areas the Steelers could address in Round 1, and while the Steelers have drafted several NFL-ready players over the past two years on defense, some might view taking a quarterback, although great for the long-term, as hindering the team in the short-term.

What do you think about the pick? Do you think Jackson is a quarterback Pittsburgh should take if available? Or do you think the team has more glaring needs to pick a quarterback on Day 1? Let us know in the comment section below!