The Steelers are without a first-round pick in 2020, but here’s why ESPN’s Mel Kiper thinks quarterback Jalen Hurts could wind up with Pittsburgh at pick 49 in the NFL Draft.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert made it a point this offseason to tell the media that he was “comfortable” with Pittsburgh’s quarterback situation heading into the 2020. However, some recent evidence suggests that may not be the case.
According to a recent report, the Steelers may be eyeing Oklahoma star quarterback, Jalen Hurts, early in the 2020 NFL Draft.
On Monday, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN claimed that the Steelers and the Patriots are two teams in the running for Jalen Hurts early in the NFL Draft. Here is some of what Kiper had to say, according to 247 Sports:
"“I’ve heard he’s not getting out of the second round. Think about the Patriots, that Belichick connection with Nick Saban the former coach of Jalen Hurts, and of course Lincoln Riley this past year. Also the Pittsburgh Steelers. Don’t have a first-round pick, but a mid-second round pick? Keep an eye on Jalen Hurts in Round 2.”"
The idea that the Steelers may be inserted in Hurts is somewhat shocking. It’s not just because of the statements Colbert made earlier this offseason, but the fact that the Steelers didn’t have a single representative at Oklahoma’s Pro Day before the travel bans was interesting. Just days later, however, Pittsburgh sent the house to visit Clemson’s Pro Day.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Steelers need to start looking for a franchise quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is 38 years old and coming off a major elbow surgery from a torn ligament that landed him on IR in 2019. It’s still very unclear if he will be the same passer when he returns to the field.
In addition, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges were train wrecks in his absence – grading out as two of the three worst qualifying quarterbacks in the league in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.
I am a bigger Jalen Hurts fan than most, and I believe he has upside as an eventual NFL starter. Hurts fits the mold as today’s NFL passer – a mobile quarterback who can make plays down the field and with his legs. After transferring from Alabama, Hurts managed 52 total touchdowns to just 8 interceptions as a senior at Oklahoma in 2019 – putting his production on par with former Oklahoma passers, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
While Hurts admittedly isn’t near the prospect as the last two Oklahoma passers to get drafted before him, he’s worth taking a shot on as a player who could develop into an NFL starter.
Mel Kiper went on to note that players like Lamar Jackson have opened the door to a new breed of quarterback in the NFL, and it sounds like the Steelers could be one of those teams willing to branch out from their usual trends when it comes to drafting the quarterback position. Despite what we would have thought before, consider Jalen Hurts a possibility for Pittsburgh if he’s there in round two.