Should Steelers go QB or OT with their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers need to revamp their offense moving forward. Should they be targeting a quarterback or offensive tackle first in the 2022 NFL Draft?
There is plenty of blame to pass around for Pittsburgh’s embarrassingly poor start to the 2021 NFL season. The same team that started 11-0 for the first time in the history of the franchise last year is off to a 3-3 start this season, and the record doesn’t show just how bad they have been at times.
Most would agree that the defense has an excuse, missing many of its starts over the past two games, the Steelers looked like just an average team, at best, defensively. It’s the offense that has really been atrocious from the gate.
Considering Pittsburgh scored a special teams touchdown that accounted for seven points against the Bills in Week 1, the Steelers are 25th in the NFL at just 19.5 offensive points per game. To put this into perspective, 6 NFL teams are currently putting up 10-15 more points per game than Pittsburgh’s scoring output early in the season.
The two biggest factors that we can point to are the dismal play of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offensive line. In recent weeks, there has been a debate as to which position should be addressed in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Allow me to make a case for each:
The case for Steelers to go OT first
No NFL team has neglected the offensive tackle as much as the Steelers over the past 25 years. Though Pittsburgh was able to find success with players like Kelvin Beachum and Alejandro Villanueva when Mike Munchak was coaching the offensive line, the days of getting by with late-round draft choices and undrafted free agents are over.
Pittsburgh hasn’t taken an offensive tackle in the first round since Jamain Stephens all the way back in 1996 (29th overall selection), and they haven’t dipped their feet into the position in the top two rounds in the NFL Draft in a decade.
The Steelers must have missed the memo that offensive tackles are one of the most important positions in all of football. Good ones can stick around for over a decade and help the team in both the run and the pass.
What is the sense of taking a quarterback in the first round if he’s going to be ruined behind a dismal offensive line? This is a position that finally must be addressed after all these years.
The case for Steelers to go QB first
As important as offensive tackles are to have an elite offense in the NFL, quarterbacks are undeniably the most important position in all of football. We witnessed this in 2019 when Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges were asked to take the reigns.
Sadly, we are once again left with a lesson of how important quarterbacks are as Ben Roethlisberger is on his last legs. Modern NFL history shows us that quarterback is not a position you want to settle for. In order to have a legitimate shot to be true Super Bowl contenders year after year, teams must have ‘franchise’ quarterbacks who can carry the team on their shoulders.
With things shaping up like they are, the Steelers will have a chance to go straight from Roethlisberger to his successor without wasted years in between with a bridge quarterback who isn’t good enough to do anything more than scrape together 7-9 wins.
We still have lots of time to think about which position would be most beneficial to address with the first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, as this isn’t a discussion that is going away any time soon. Let me know your preference for the Steelers and why in the comments!