I know what you are thinking.
You don’t even have to say it.
I’ll say it for you...
I know it is way too early to be talking about the 2022 NFL Draft, but what you realize quickly when running a sports website is content is king. Knowing what works, and works well, is paramount. And readers absolutely love mock drafts.
So, with that out of the way, ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay always does a way too early mock draft since he refuses to hand out grades to the players who were just selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. While some will scoff at this exercise, there is an extra layer to these mock drafts which often gets overlooked.
And no, I’m not referring to the player who was projected to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first round pick. I’m talking about when these experts have the Steelers picking in the draft process. After all, this is directly related to how they, the experts, feel the Steelers will do in 2021.
McShay has the Steelers picking 16th, which means the Steelers will likely finish as a middle of the road team, probably clinging to the hope of a Wild Card berth. Then again, we shouldn’t put much stock into what any of these experts think will happen, they are rarely correct.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at who McShay has mocked to Pittsburgh with that 16th overall pick:
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Another QB! We just watched five go in the first 15 picks last week, and now we could see as many go in the first half of Day 1 again. Pittsburgh has Ben Roethlisberger back for one more season (2022 is a void year on his contract), so it should absolutely be in the QB market at the draft. Ridder has done a little bit of everything at Cincinnati, throwing for at least 2,100 yards and 18 TDs in three straight seasons. And the 6-foot-4 redshirt senior averaged 6 yards per carry and scored 12 times on the ground in 2020.
Don’t know much about Ridder? Me neither, so here is his scouting report, via The Draft Network:
PROS: Dual-threat quarterback with a live arm and plenty of athleticism. Does well to keep his eyes down the field when facing pressure. Fully capable of altering his arm slots and getting the ball out quick. Often used in zone-read and QB power runs where his size, vision and ability to break tackles shine. Sound thrower on the run and he finds a fair amount of success extending plays and playing backyard football. Easy movement within the pocket and there are plenty of instances where he slides or steps up to avoid a rusher and hits a throw. Flashes wonderful ball placement down the field and he has the arm strength needed to challenge deep windows. Has impressive flashes of accuracy overall, working the football into tight windows and putting it on his targets.
CONS: Passing efficiency diminished after the first month or so of the season, compounded by a shoulder injury later in the year. Has to find better consistency with ball placement. Needs to be more willing to take what the defense gives him, identify that quicker and pull the trigger - can get greedy and try to do too much. Can be late to feel pressure but to his credit, those eyes are down the field. Took a ton of hits in 2019.
What do you think of the Steelers picking 16th? How about the team taking a quarterback, and Ridder at that? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.