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Should the Steelers draft a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Is the Steelers’ next franchise quarterback in the 2022 draft class?

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Pittsburgh vs Wake Forest Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With each Big Board article this spring, the BTSC Big Board crew will be publishing a second article complementary to that respective portion of the big board. This week, we are going over the quarterback position and whether or not the Steelers will want to draft one in April.

If you have thoughts as to whether or not the Steelers should draft a quarterback, let us know in the comment section below. Let’s see what our resident draft analysts have to say.


Ryland B.: I’ll preface this by saying I have a hard time seeing Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins as any sort of long-term answer at the Steelers’ quarterback position — and I strongly suspect that the team feels the same. I’d like to see the front office at least try something new at quarterback this offseason, whether through the draft or free agency.

I struggle to agree with the logic that the Steelers should trade for a superstar quarterback, as the load of first round picks they’d have to give up likely wouldn’t be worth the final result. However, if Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson become available via trade, Pittsburgh should undoubtably perform their due diligence. I’d stay far away from Deshaun Watson until his legal situation becomes more apparent, and although Jimmy Garoppolo would cost less draft capital, I’d want the 49ers to pay some of his remaining contract before considering a trade.

The draft is really the best option here, but Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett are the only two quarterbacks I’d want to spend a first round pick on. Not much needs to be said about Willis, as it’s clear to see that despite his high chance of being a bust, his ceiling is around as high as it gets at his position. Pickett, on the other hand, is far more pro-ready, and I think his overall athleticism and potential is higher than most give him credit for. Desmond Ridder is the only other signal-caller I’d remotely consider here, but I don’t find him nearly as exciting as Willis or NFL-ready as Pickett.

If the Steelers don’t end up with one of these top 3 quarterbacks in the draft, free agency would be the place to go. There’s a few veterans who could become available and offer a lot more to the Steelers than Rudolph and Haskins — especially in the mobility department. I think Marcus Mariota would be a good fit as an athletic, high-character quarterback with some experience. He’s been dealt a rough hand of cards in regards to the teams he’s been on in the NFL and could have some potential with a fresh start somewhere else. Mitch Trubisky, Jacoby Brissett, or even Jameis Winston could be options here as well, but Mariota is by far the top option in the free agency pool right now.

The Steelers’ quarterback position this upcoming season is such a hard one to predict. And despite my opinions on the subject, I’m willing to trust that the Steelers’ scouting department has the best idea of their best fits at QB for now and in the future.


K.T. Smith: I’m very conflicted here. On one hand, a season with Rudolph at QB, or with some low-level free agent, seems like a waste. I’d be shocked if either could prove to be the long-term solution, so in essence it would be like treading water for a year until we started to swim. If the Steelers are as enamored with Malik Willis as they seem to be, they should go get him. Rudolph as a bridge would be easier to take if our future QB was in the fold.

On the other hand, with a weak QB class and so many needs elsewhere, drafting Roethlisberger’s replacement in Round 1 seems like a reach. The Steelers could be competitive with Rudolph at the helm if they used the draft and their cap space to bolster the line and plug holes elsewhere. In that scenario, taking a potential step backwards in 2022 to be ready to leap forward soon after seems smart.

So which is it? Honestly, I don’t know yet. I haven’t written on this subject much because I haven’t yet made up my mind. There is still time to figure it out. While “hot takes” are all the rage, the prudent move is to continue to evaluate all possible options until a clear course emerges.


Geoffrey Benedict: You build the team to win, then find your quarterback. That’s not the only way to do it, but I think history shows that that’s the best way in the modern NFL (outside of simply having Tom Brady as your QB).

The last nine Super Bowl winning QBs break down like this:

Free Agent/Trade: 4
3rd round pick or later: 4
1st round pick: 1

The last three Super Bowl winners involved quarterbacks being added to an already really good team. Kansas City was a playoff team without Mahomes, Tampa Bay had everything but a quarterback when they signed Brady, same with the Rams when they traded for Stafford.

If you have a good team without a quarterback, that’s when you go get a quarterback. I think Steeler fans forget how unpolished Ben Roethlisberger was his first two seasons, and yet he won a Super Bowl because the team around him just needed a few big plays from the quarterback to win playoff games. It gave him time to develop into what he became by Super Bowl 43. That’s what I think the Steelers should aim for again.


Andrew Wilbar: Don’t get me wrong, I am a big proponent of fixing the offensive line before throwing a young quarterback into the fire. However, I am becoming a true believer in Malik Willis and believe he could be the long-term answer if the Steelers are willing to be patient and let him sit for a year. Unfortunately, I do not see any scenario where Willis falls to the Steelers at pick 20, and I do not especially enjoy trading a boatload of picks to move up for any one player.

If Kevin Colbert only has to move up five or so picks and the price is reasonable, I am totally fine with the move... IF it is to secure Willis. He is the only quarterback I have interest in that early. If Willis goes to high for the Steelers to reasonably move up for him, it would be wise to fix other parts of the team and reconsider quarterback in 2022.


Noah_E: Unless Pittsburgh can pull off a trade for Rodgers or maybe Watson, the answer is absolutely yes. It would be a disaster if we went into next year with Mason Rudolph as our best option. Maybe we draft someone and they sit behind Mason for a bit, fine, but there has to be a backup plan. This QB class has been labeled as weak but I think we have been spoiled by some historic draft classes in recent years. Corral, Ridder, Howell, and Willis are all guys that, in my opinion, could be very good players in the near future. They all have their flaws, but Mike Tomlin is one of the best in the business and the Steelers scouting department has been very good, despite a few bad misses. My vote is for us to grab an offensive lineman or potentially a corner in round 1, and then grab a quarterback in round 2, with Ridder and Howell likely still available.


Skyfire322: This is an interesting year, as there are plenty of other positions that need to be addressed. With a few veteran QB’s being linked to the team, the bigger question is how much in the way of draft capital they are willing to give up. There is some decent talent on the board, so I fully expect them to draft a QB, but I do not believe they will trade up. This is Colbert’s swan song, so I think they will swing for the fences, but they’ll hold their cards tight to their chest in the meantime.


Necksnation: QB is probably the most polarizing position for the Steelers this offseason. There are legitimate arguments to be made for many different scenarios, such as rolling with Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins, trading for a star QB such as Aaron Rodgers, signing a bridge QB like Marcus Mariota in free agency, and of course drafting one in the early rounds. Personally, I would spend the season beefing up both lines and maybe adding a veteran like Mariota or Mitchell Trubisky. Next year’s QB class is far better, and any rookie QB would get pulverized behind this line unless a lot of things change. Spending a year rebuilding the trenches would do wonders for whoever is under center next season, and it would greatly improve this team as a whole.

That said, if the front office truly believes that the next franchise QB is available when the Steelers are on the clock, it would be a no brainer to select them. QBs don’t grow on trees as we have seen lately, and you never pass on one if he seems like the real deal (hopefully the Steelers have learned that lesson after passing on Marino). If they do take one, my preference is Malik Willis, as he has easily the most athletic upside and seems like a good fit for Canada’s offense. Corral wouldn’t be bad either, but I don’t think he’s worth the investment. Pickett’s hands are a legitimate concern, Strong is a statue in the pocket, Ridder seems too inconsistent for me, and Howell just looked unimpressive throughout his film. If Willis is gone, I hope they take an OL, CB, Jordan Davis, or trade down. I wouldn’t want a QB in any other round, so it’s Willis or bust for me, and even still I hope an OL falls into the Steelers’ lap instead.


Do you think the Steelers should acquire a quarterback this offseason? If so, when and how should they do it? Let us know your thoughts by voting on the poll and commenting down below.

Poll

How should the Steelers acquire a new quarterback this season?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Round 1
    (95 votes)
  • 24%
    Rounds 2-3
    (161 votes)
  • 5%
    Rounds 4-5
    (34 votes)
  • 0%
    Rounds 6-7
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    UDFA contract
    (12 votes)
  • 37%
    Free agency
    (243 votes)
  • 16%
    Don’t sign/draft a quarterback
    (107 votes)
653 votes total Vote Now