Steelers too short-sighted to wait until 2023 draft for their quarterback
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers are fixated on selecting a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft, but here’s why the evidence suggests they should wait until next year.
Like it or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a one-track mind when it comes to doing business. Their decisions always seem to be centered around the ‘here and now’ rather than taking a proactive approach and making moves that will help them in the future.
The proof is in the pudding. In 2021, the Steelers spent the 24th overall pick on a running back despite not having a single trustworthy building block along the offensive line. They did the same in thing in 2019 when they traded into the top-10 for an undersized off-ball linebacker.
What’s worse is that they don’t consider what analytics have to say about their decision-making. While running backs and linebackers are becoming expendable positions in today’s changing NFL, Pittsburgh’s front office remains stuck in some of their outdated philosophies.
Sadly, I’m afraid the same short-sightedness that has burned them in the past will once again get the best of them in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Every shred of evidence collected this offseason suggests that the Pittsburgh Steelers will take a quarterback very early in the draft this year. They have thoroughly vetted each of the top five prospects at the position — essentially ignoring other significant areas of need in the process.
Though no position is more important in football than a team’s quarterback, it’s for that reason that the Steelers shouldn’t be content to settle.
Steelers should wait until next year to continue QB search
I’ve spent dozens of hours examining game film on each of the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft, and I’ve come to the same conclusion that most of NFL draft media have: this just isn’t a very good quarterback class.
Though some might accuse me of groupthink, this really is something that analysts should be unified on. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be a QB that emerges from this group as a quality NFL signal-caller, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in that basket.
It’s very clear that this QB class is lacking any true first-round-graded prospects, and each of these quarterbacks have a few major flaws in their game.
Malik Willis is incredibly raw and inconsistent and he rarely looks to pass the ball over the middle of the field. Desmond Ridder and Kenny Pickett didn’t get going until late in their college careers and they both have just average arm talent by NFL standards, while Matt Corral and Sam Howell are undersized and come from gimmicky college offenses.
While these quarterbacks have some traits to work with, none of them are good enough prospects to bet on ever becoming top-10 QBs in the NFL, and you should never settle at the most important position in football.
If the answer isn’t right there in front of you at QB (and it shouldn’t be this year), the last thing you want to do is lock yourself into a quarterback who can’t compete with AFC studs like Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Deshaun Watson.
What the Steelers should do is put a hold on their search and continue again during the 2022 college football season and leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft.
Right now, it’s unanimous among NFL Draft analysts that Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud are clearly better than any QB prospect in this class. Though that could change, both of these players — at their current trajectories — could prove to be franchise quarterbacks at the next level.
In addition, the 2023 draft class will have some other intriguing players like Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Boston College’s Phil Jurkovic. Even fallen college prospects like Spencer Rattler or D.J. Uiagalelei could potentially skyrocket their stock during the 2022 season.
Even if the answer isn’t in next year’s class, I think that most would agree that it would be worth it to wait for one more season for the chance to get a significantly better QB prospect. Sadly, Pittsburgh is dialed into taking a QB in 2022. Let’s just hope this isn’t another one of those short-sighted decisions that sets the franchise back.