The worst case for the next Pittsburgh Steelers QB isn’t flat-out busting

Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be looking for a franchise quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft, but here’s why there is a scenario worse than being a bust.

With the 2022 NFL Draft just a month away, football fans are reaching their peak excitement for the offseason. Pittsburgh Steelers fans have a particularly strong reason to be excited this year, as all signs seem to point to the team targeting their next franchise quarterback.

Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert (as well as several other important members of the organization) have been on quite the road trip with one goal in mind: to find their next franchise quarterback.

So far, Pittsburgh brass has met with quarterbacks Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Matt Corral, and Desmond Ridder. They are also expected to be present when Sam Howell takes the field at North Carolina’s Pro Day.

In doing so, however, the Steelers top dogs have ignored several huge Pro Days packed with NFL talent (like Ohio State and Penn State). As the pre-draft process marches on, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Pittsburgh is going to come away with a quarterback in the NFL Draft.

I know that Colbert has praised this QB class in the past, but I’ve got to be honest: I don’t think it’s a particularly strong group this year. In fact, from all of my film study, I don’t have a single QB with higher than a second-round grade this year.

In conversation, many have told me that they are good with the Steelers drafting a quarterback every year until they find their ‘franchise guy.’ In theory, this isn’t the worst plan. I know the value of the QB position, and I don’t think the Steelers should settle for just anybody.

However, there’s a scenario worse than flat-out busting when it comes to taking a QB high in the NFL Draft.

Steelers can’t afford to go into QB limbo

Quarterback limbo is a dreadful place that too many fans around the NFL are familiar with. This is when a team is figuratively stuck in purgatory with no hope of escaping due to an underwhelming QB who isn’t good enough to get them over the hump.

We have seen this often in our own division over the years. Andy Dalton was the definition of a ‘limbo’ quarterback. He was good enough to get his team to a .500 record year after year, but he didn’t scare anybody, and the Bengals never stood a shot at winning a Super Bowl while he was at the helm.

A more recent example of this is a player like Daniel Jones. The former first-round pick has done just enough each year for the New York Giants not to give up on him yet, but fans at home can see that this isn’t the franchise QB they should stick with.

What scares me to death is that the Steelers could be the next team to lock themselves into a limbo QB. It’s possible that a guy like Kenny Pickett could be this player in the NFL. While I thought Pickett had an excellent season in year five at Pitt, his arm talent is only average, by NFL standards, and I’m worried that he’s already a bit maxed out.

Getting locked into a limbo QB could actually be worse for your franchise than busting on a QB early. If the Steelers drafted a player like Sam Howell or Matt Corral and you can just tell that they aren’t starting NFL quarterbacks, it could be easier to move on from that guy rather than the QB who manages to get his team to 7-9 wins each year.

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I know this isn’t how we want to view things and it seems like we should always want the better player no matter what. However, I am legitimately scared that the Steelers could lock themselves into a limbo quarterback for the next 6-8 years before they realize that he’s not the guy that is ever going to lead them to a Super Bowl.