The 2022 NFL Draft is right around the corner, and that means the analysts and pundits at every media outlet are busy churning out mock drafts like crazy. As I’ve said all draft season, some mock drafts carry more weight than others, and the analysts at ESPN would fall into the category of gaining maximum attention.
Plenty of folks can’t stand Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, but it is almost like a scenario where fans love to hate the ESPN duo. Every year the two put together an alternating mock draft predicting Rounds 1-3. They followed suit in 2022, and here are their rules for their annual exercise.
The rules for the draft:
- Three full rounds, 105 total picks, with prospect predictions for each slot.
- Kiper and McShay alternated each pick, with McShay starting at No. 1 and taking the odd numbers and Kiper taking the evens.
- No deals that even hint at “I won’t take Player X if you don’t take Player Y.” No cheating.
- No trades allowed here. We’re just following the board as it is.
With Kiper getting all of the even picks in this 2022 mock draft, it means Pittsburgh Steelers fans get the pleasure of having Kiper select all of the Steelers’ top three picks. I’m sure there is plenty of celebrating and rejoicing going on as you read this.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at who Kiper predicts the Steelers to take in each round:
20. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kiper’s pick: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt
Will Pickett go higher than No. 20? Probably. But without trades and with the Saints getting two instant starters and forgoing a quarterback in this scenario, Pittsburgh is the most logical landing spot for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he beat out Mitch Trubisky.
Malik Willis was the Carolina Panthers’ pick at No. 6, and no other quarterbacks were taken until the Steelers take Pickett at No. 20. There was one other quarterback taken in Round 1, and that was Desmond Ridder who was selected 32nd by the Detroit Lions.
52. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kiper’s pick: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama
This is another pick I projected in my recent two-round mock. The Steelers need a slot playmaker after JuJu Smith-Schuster left in free agency. Metchie tore his ACL in December, but he could be healthy for training camp.
Round 2 started starts with a run on safeties and running backs, and as quarterbacks like Matt Corral and Sam Howell leave the board the Steelers are left with options at receiver. Skyy Moore was selected by Washington at pick No. 47, and the Steelers take Metchie with the 52nd pick in the draft.
84. Pittsburgh Steelers - Kiper’s pick: Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
Here’s another really solid Cincinnati defender, and it was Bryant, not Ahmad Gardner, who won the Jim Thorpe Award last season. Bryant doesn’t have elite straight-line speed, but he has good instincts and oily hips. He had seven picks over the past two seasons.
To round out Day 2 of the draft, the Steelers address the secondary, but it isn’t safety. Kiper has the Steelers taking the Jim Thorpe Award winner, Coby Bryant, of Cincinnati with their final pick of the second day.
When you look at the top three selections, according to Kiper, would you be happy with these picks, or would you be hoping for something better? It is unlikely Pickett falls to the Steelers at No. 20, but stranger things have happened. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft and the rest of free agency.