As the 2022 NFL Draft nears closer, here is one way I think the Pittsburgh Steelers can utilize their draft capital.
The Steelers have been heavily linked to the selection of a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft, however, they have other needs as well. There are several options if the team decides to go the quarterback route, but the team will undoubtedly figure out which one is the top guy on their board while finishing up their interviews and continuing to evaluate prior to the draft.
As for other needs, wide receiver, safety, offensive tackle, linebacker, and depth at edge, are a few of the positions the team could use some upgrades at. However, no position should be ruled out as the Steelers have filled most of their needs in free agency so that the team can truly address the best player available and not worry about reaching for positional needs.
Here is my current projection of how the Steelers can operate on the first two days of the draft.
Steelers Round 1: Trade down to 29 and select Desmond Ridder
While many people have talked of trading up for a quarterback, the Steelers have been linked to each of the quarterbacks, and they have numerous options. If they decide that Desmond Ridder is their guy and that Willis and Pickett aren’t worth trading up for then the team should absolutely consider adding some capital if they believe they can still get Ridder after moving down.
In this scenario, the Steelers get their quarterback of the future, while the Kansas City Chiefs move up in the first round to get a wide receiver to replace Tyreek Hill. For the Chiefs, this makes sense as both the Patriots at 21, and the Packers at 22 have needs at the wide receiver position, so the Chiefs jump ahead of both so that they can get their guy, while also still holding onto their other first-round selection.
While Garrett Wilson and Drake London are likely to be gone, at least one of Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, and Jahan Dotson should be available for the team to select and insert alongside Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
In the trade, the Steelers receive picks 29, 62, and 233 in exchange for picks 20 and 241. At 29, the Steelers in this scenario, the Steelers get Ridder, who has the best winning percentage of any of the quarterbacks in this class and seems to be rising up draft boards, back towards being a potential first-round selection. Ridder carried Cincinnati to the College Football Playoffs last year, and while he may not be exceptional at any one thing, he is above average in nearly every category.
The Steelers would be getting a proven winner at quarterback who would add mobility to the position. Additionally, Ridder is a very cerebral player, who is very adept at the mental and pre-snap aspects that go along with the quarterback position. This option hinges on if the Steelers view Ridder as their franchise guy, but if they do this could be a perfect scenario for the team.