Steelers mock draft: Pittsburgh reaches to fill biggest needs

John Metchie III #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
John Metchie III #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9). /

Pittsburgh has some sizeable holes ahead of the NFL Draft. Here’s why I have them reaching to fill their biggest needs in my latest Steelers mock draft.

We are approaching the finals days before the NFL Draft and Steelers fans everywhere are nervously preparing themselves for the results. Sadly, I don’t have a very good feeling about this one.

Over the past six weeks, Pittsburgh’s brass has put all of their attention on the quarterback position — meaning they are incredibly likely to select one early. The only problem is that this isn’t a very good QB class, and there’s no real consensus on who is the best signal-caller this year.

Even with their moves in free agency, it really seems like Pittsburgh will prioritize need overvalue in the 2022 NFL Draft. Here’s why I have them reaching on a few big areas of need in my latest Steelers mock draft:

Quarterback. Bearcats . Desmond Ridder. 1. player. 830.

Steelers mock draft round 1: QB Desmond Ridder

I still feel like Malik Willis is the ultimate goal for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2022 NFL Draft; I’ve believed this dating back to the Senior Bowl. However, there’s certainly a chance that Kevin Colbert isn’t able to make a move to get him if a team inside the top 10 desires his services.

A little birdy told me that they prefer Desmond Ridder as their backup plan and they would feel comfortable taking him at pick 20 if they are not able to draft Willis. Despite being a similarly impressive athlete, Ridder and Willis have very different play styles.

Ridder typically does his best work inside the pocket. Though he struggles with accuracy at times, he is very good at finding the right man and taking care of the football. At 6’3”, Ridder is also one of the taller quarterbacks of the group, and his height won’t be an issue the Steelers will have to concern themselves with at the next level.

I don’t love Ridder’s arm talent, and I’m a bit worried that he could earn the dreaded “game manager” label at the next level, but he was simply a winner at the collegiate level, and the Steelers will like that. This pick is a bit rich for me, but Desmond Ridder checks most of the boxes Mike Tomlin looks for in a first-round pick and in a QB.