Quarterback still the underlying theme of Steelers mock drafts

Desmond Ridder #9 of the Cincinnati Bearcats. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Desmond Ridder #9 of the Cincinnati Bearcats. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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NFL Draft analysts are piling on the mocks that include slotting a quarterback to the Pittsburgh Steelers… and they should be. 

With all of the evidence we have collected at this point in the offseason, I would almost go as far as to suggest disregarding every NFL mock draft that doesn’t include the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting a quarterback.

Nothing is certain when teams are on the clock, but Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert cannot hide their interest in selecting a QB early this year. By putting nearly all of their attention on the quarterback prospects over the past two months, Pittsburgh has essentially neglected nearly every other position in the process.

Recently, NFL analysts, media members, and bloggers are starting to pile up mock drafts that include the Steelers selecting a quarterback in the first round… and they should be.

It was about this time last year that nearly every mock had Alabama running back, Najee Harris, going to the Steelers. Despite what fans would like to believe, Pittsburgh’s front office doesn’t mess around with smokescreens; they are very straightforward in their approach to the NFL Draft.

This year, it has become abundantly clear where their interest lies. Pittsburgh has been scouting these quarterbacks since before the Senior Bowl, and Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert even took the most important members of their crew on a road trip that saw them visiting each of the top five QB prospects at their Pro Days.

To kick things off this week, multiple members of football media have mocked yet another quarterback to the Steelers, including Charles Davis, Mel Kiper Jr., and The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. In addition, nearly all of our recent mocks at Still Curtain have included a quarterback being selected in the first round because of the clear and obvious interest we see in connection with the Steelers.

The question now becomes: which quarterback will it be?

Which QB will the Steelers select?

While most in the football media business would agree that the Steelers are going to take a quarterback with their first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, agreeing on which signal-caller they will take is an entirely different manner.

Most (including myself) believe that Malik Willis is the ultimate goal for Pittsburgh, as they seem to have been infatuated with him all offseason. However, if he’s not on the board or if a trade-up is not an option, this starts to get really tricky.

I’ve literally seen all five of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class mocked to the Steelers this April, and it’s hard to decipher how they view these prospects as well as how the draft could play out on the 28th.

Recently, however, I’ve seen most mock drafts having the Steelers select Cincinnati QB, Desmond Ridder. This would make a lot of sense in terms of what the team typically looks for. Apart from playing in a non-Power Five conference, Ridder checks nearly every other box for Pittsburgh. He meets their size thresholds, has a terrific college resume, an excellent 43-6 record over four years, and is an exceptional athlete.

It also stands to reason that Pittsburgh may view Ridder as the best available QB on their board if he’s up for grabs with the 20th overall pick this year.

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With just days until the NFL Draft, all mocks should be pointing towards a quarterback in the first round for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It will be interesting to see which one they ultimately end up with.