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Mel Kiper 2-Round Mock Draft: Steelers go all-offense in Rounds 1 and 2

The Pittsburgh Steelers snag both a quarterback and wide receiver in Rounds 1 and 2, according to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Pittsburgh vs Wake Forest Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and this means draft analysts are going all-in on their mock draft predictions. Some mock drafts, and their authors, garner more attention than others, and the two at ESPN certainly would fall in that category. Whether it’s Todd McShay or Mel Kiper Jr., these two analysts are lightning rods when it comes to their rankings/predictions.

After McShay released his latest mock draft last week, it was Kiper’s turn to produce some content, and he did so in a full 2-round mock draft. Of course, these are just Kiper’s thoughts and projections for how the draft might unfold, but for the Pittsburgh Steelers fan, you are left scratching your head wondering if this would be the best course of action for the team if the board were to fall this way.

With that said, let’s take a look at the first round of Kiper’s latest mock draft...

Round 1

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
2. Detroit Lions - Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
3. Houston Texans - Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
4. New York Jets - Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
5. New York Giants - Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
6. Carolina Panthers - Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
7. New York Giants (via CHI) - Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State
8. Atlanta Falcons - Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
10. New York Jets (via SEA) - Drake London, WR, USC
11. Washington Commanders - Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
12. Minnesota Vikings - Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
13. Houston Texans (via CLE) - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
14. Baltimore Ravens - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
15. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA) - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
16. New Orleans Saints (via PHI/IND) - Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
18. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO) - Nakobe Dean, ILB, Georgia
19. New Orleans Saints (via PHI) - Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt

I’d feel much more comfortable taking Pickett here than I would in the top 10. Best-case scenario is that he’s Derek Carr, and his floor is as an Andy Dalton-type, which isn’t a bad quarterback by any means. Pittsburgh can win with that. Still, those two were taken in Round 2 and didn’t have Round 1 expectations surrounding them. If Pickett falls into the Steelers’ laps here, he’d be tough to pass up. And he has a little more upside than Mitch Trubisky.

21. New England Patriots - Devin Lloyd, ILB, Utah
22. Green Bay Packers (via LV) - Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
23. Arizona Cardinals - Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
24. Dallas Cowboys - Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State
25. Buffalo Bills - Daxton Hill, DB, Michigan
26. Tennessee Titans - Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
28. Green Bay Packers - Zion Johnson, G/C, Boston College
29. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA/SF) - Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
30. Kansas City Chiefs - George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
31. New York Jets (via mock trade with CIN) - Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa
32. Detroit Lions (via LAR) - Lewis Cine, S, Georgia

There is plenty of talent to choose from when the Steelers pick at No. 20, but Kiper feels the Steelers’ need at quarterback is too great to let Pickett fall any further. With Willis off the board at No. 6 to Carolina, Pickett is the next best quarterback on the board. But that doesn’t mean this is the best direction for the team in Round 1. There is still talent available at positions of need on both sides of the football. It’s difficult to see the likes of Devin Lloyd, Devonte Wyatt and Tyler Linderbaum all on the board and passed up by the black and gold.

Round 2

33. Jacksonville Jaguars - Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M
34. Detroit Lions - David Ojabo, OLB, Michigan
35. Cincinnati Bengals (via mock trade with NYJ) - Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
36. New York Giants - Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
37. Houston Texans - Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
38. New York Jets (via CAR) - Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
39. Chicago Bears - Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington
40. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN) - Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
41. Seattle Seahawks - Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
42. Indianapolis Colts (via WSH) - Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
43. Atlanta Falcons - Boye Mafe, OLB, Minnesota
44. Cleveland Browns - Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
45. Baltimore Ravens - Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia
46. Minnesota Vikings - Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
47. Washington Commanders (via IND) - George Pickens, WR, Georgia
48. Chicago Bears (via LAC) - Tyler Smith, OT/G, Tulsa
49. New Orleans Saints - Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
50. Kansas City Chiefs (via MIA) - Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
51. Philadelphia Eagles - Drake Jackson, DE/OLB, USC

52. Pittsburgh Steelers -John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

Metchie tore his ACL in December, but he was having a fantastic season, with 96 catches for 1,142 yards and eight scores. He can play in the slot and make a difference in the middle of the field for the Steelers, which let JuJu Smith-Schuster walk in free agency. Metchie should be able to recover to play in Week 1 — and potentially help Kenny Pickett.

53. Green Bay Packers (via LV) - Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
54. New England Patriots - Logan Hall, DL, Houston
55. Arizona Cardinals - Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
56. Dallas Cowboys - Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
57. Buffalo Bills - Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
58. Atlanta Falcons (via TEN) - Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
59. Green Bay Packers - Myjai Sanders, DE/OLB, Cincinnati
60. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga
61. San Francisco 49ers - Cam Taylor-Britt, DB, Nebraska
62. Kansas City Chiefs - Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
63. Cincinnati Bengals - Greg Dulcich, TE, UCLA
64. Denver Broncos (via LAR) - Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

The Steelers sit tight at pick No. 52, and again focus on the offensive side of the ball with the pick of Metchie III. Coming off major knee surgery will have many fans/experts skeptical of the pick, but many have come back from these injuries without any hinderance to their performance. The Steelers taking Pickett in Round 1 opened the door for teams like the Seahawks and Saints to take Desmond Ridder and Matt Corral in Round 2. Again, plenty of talent on the board, but you would be hard pressed to argue the Steelers’ didn’t need both quarterback and wide receiver help. Getting those positions in Rounds 1 and 2 aren’t horrible.

What do you think of Kiper’s latest mock draft? Would you be happy with the selections? Are there players who were passed on you would have taken if you were developing this mock? Let us know your thoughts 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 next wave of free agency and the NFL Draft.