Steelers should mirror what the Ravens did in the 2018 NFL Draft
The Ravens took Lamar Jackson after already selecting a player in the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s why the Steelers should follow suit in 2022.
The Pittsburgh Steelers draft with the 20th pick on the first day of the 2022 NFL Draft. With the recent re-signing of strong safety Terrell Edmunds, the Steelers are free to pick the best player available with that pick. However, there is still a need for a long-term QB and the top QBs of this year’s class will be taken early, but there are chances to snag some guys late.
Desmond Ridder‘s projected landing spot has been hard to finalize. Some have him going top 10 as one of the first quarterbacks off the board, while others have him slipping to Pittsburgh’s pick at 20 and beyond.
If he does slide and is still on the board in the later picks of the first round, the Steelers should trade back in with the Detriot Lions at 32 and draft Ridder. This is exactly what the Baltimore Ravens did with Lamar Jackson in 2018.
Steelers should copy the Ravens 2018 draft strategy
Baltimore held the 25th pick that year and selected tight end Hayden Hurst, but later traded back in with the Philadelphia Eagles and selected Jackson to replace a struggling and aging Joe Flacco, now he’s an MVP and has changed the modern thinking of the quarterback position.
The move-up would be cheaper than you might think if you are comparing it to 2018. The Ravens gave up the 52nd overall pick, 129th overall pick, and a 2019 second-round pick, they got the 32nd and a 2019 4th round pick in return, which turned out to be the 132nd pick.
The Lions are looking to rebuild and would take picks just like the Eagles did, and to draft a possible franchise QB who matches Matt Canada’s offensive style sweetens the situation. One more thing that makes this move a smart one is that if Ridder turns out to be a steal at number 32 like Lamar, he won’t be getting paid that much since he was a later pick.
Lamar signed his rookie contract for just $9.47 million over 4 years and the signing bonus was just $4.96 million, his average salary over those four years was $2.36 million.
There are mixed thoughts about Ridder and the entire QB class, it reminds me of the 2011 draft where QBs like Jake Locker and Christain Ponder were picked at 8th and 12th overall. Many teams reached for QBs in that first round and a similar outcome is thought to take place on Thursday, although more teams are looking to trade back than trade up, so do with that what you will.
I’m all for drafting Desmond Ridder, he’s a winner, a leader, mobile, has had a consistent college career, and can read a defense. The Steelers might just land their own Lamar Jackson on day 1 of the draft and I would be ecstatic if Pittsburgh drafted BPA with the 20th pick and traded with the Lions to take Ridder.