Predicting Steelers top-5 first-round targets in the 2022 NFL Draft

Matt Corral #2 of the Mississippi Rebels. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Matt Corral #2 of the Mississippi Rebels. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Sam Howell #7 of the North Carolina Tar Heels. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

3. QB Sam Howell, North Carolina

I don’t remember the last time I saw an NFL Draft prospect who caused such a wide array of opinions as Sam Howell did this offseason. Since his freshman season, many believed that Howell had the potential to be the number one pick in the draft. However, in 2021, the UNC quarterback took a big step back and his draft stock has been all over the place as a result.

Howell is certainly a box-checker when it comes to the things the Steelers typically look for. He’s very young, has good tools and athletic traits, was a former high recruit, played at a Power Five school, had great college production, is a high character player, and is certainly within Pittsburgh’s usual scouting region.

All of this, however, won’t lock him in as Tomlin and Colbert’s top QB this year though, as Howell has just as many questions as answers. Teams will be worried about his pocket presence and ability to read a defense, and they may not love that he came in just a hair over 6-foot.

This is a guy that Kevin Colbert and his scouting department have had their eyes on over the past three years and he will certainly be an option, but there are two other players who are even more likely to be targeted in the first round.