Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh takes a balanced approach in 2022

Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer (69. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer (69. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 5
North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Sam Howell (7). Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Senior Bowl under weigh, the NFL Draft season is in full swing. Here’s who I have the Pittsburgh Steelers taking in my latest seven-round mock draft.

Senior Bowl practices are under weigh in Mobile, Alabama, and representatives from each team have their scouting departments on hand. For the first time in forever, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be searching for a franchise quarterback to build around in addition to trying to fill several other massive holes on a roster that was starving for talent in 2021.

This will officially be Kevin Colbert’s final season as general manager, and it will be interesting to see which route the team takes in the 2022 NFL Draft. Here’s a look at my updated 2022 seven-round Steelers mock draft:

838. . Quarterback. Tar Heels . Sam Howell. 1. player

Steelers mock draft round 1: QB Sam Howell

Recently, Art Rooney II addressed the media and expressed that the team needs to get better at both running the football and stopping the run (the latter is something the Steelers haven’t had an issue with historically). Last year, when Rooney made it a point to emphasize this, Colbert went out and drafted Najee Harris with the 24th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Clearly, selecting a RB in the first round wasn’t going to solve all of their problems and they have lots of work to do in the trenches. Personally, I would love to pull the trigger on Northern Iowa OT Trevor Penning here, but the Steelers simply do not take chances with non-Power Five player in round one. Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner is also still on the board in this mock, but I have them going with UNC QB Sam Howell.

Howell is a player the Steelers have no doubt had their eye on over the past three years leading up to Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement. He’s a former high recruit out of high school who was immensely productive in three years at North Carolina.

Howell might have taken a step back this year, but at 21 years old, he’s got a cannon of an arm and plus mobility. Howell is shorter than the Steelers typically like at the QB position, but I think they might be willing to change with the times. If he falls to them here, it will certainly be tempting.