Steelers fans appalled by Pittsburgh's selection in the latest 2024 NFL mock draft

Fans would lose their mind if this was Pittsburgh's selection with the 20th overall pick this April.

Bo Nix, 2024 Senior Bowl
Bo Nix, 2024 Senior Bowl / Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

We are quickly entering mock draft season and NFL Draft analysts are slowly releasing their first mocks of 2024. There is still a month until the start of free agency, and the additions teams make this March will give us further insight as to which positions each NFL front office could target in April. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a handful of pressing needs.

As early as the start of the 2023 season, it was easy to see where the Steelers were going to struggle. They quickly proved to have gaping holes at offensive tackle, cornerback, and center. As a result, these have been the three most frequently mocked positions to Pittsburgh with the 20th overall pick this year.

However, there's another position that appears to be on the radar for some experts. Despite Mike Tomlin's apparent confidence in Kenny Pickett, the Steelers know they must improve at the quarterback position if they want to win playoff games. With Mitch Trubisky released and Mason Rudolph reportedly interested in a 'fresh start', Pickett is the only QB currently on the Steelers roster.

In the latest mock draft from ESPN Insider Field Yates, has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Oregon quarterback Bo Nix with the 20th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Here's what Yates had to say about this decision.

"This one might be a surprise, as the Steelers have backed Kenny Pickett -- who they took at No. 20 two years ago -- this offseason. But they also said they plan to add competition for him in the quarterback room. Quarterback picks in this range are often polarizing, but my fundamental mindset is the Steelers' ceiling with Pickett under center is too low for a franchise whose standard is not simply making the playoffs but making deep runs. Pittsburgh has lost five straight playoff games now.

Nix blends sharp accuracy with some razzle dazzle (something he has refined during his college career after transferring from Auburn) and an ability to quickly scan the field to deliver the right read. He set the FBS single-season record for completion percentage in 2023 at 77.4% while throwing 45 touchdown passes to three interceptions."

Fields Yates via ESPN

Nix is coming off a remarkable 2023 season at Oregon -- two years after transferring from Auburn. But this particular mock draft selection for Pittsburgh already has Steelers fans in a tizzy.

Fans don't want Steelers to draft a quarterback in the first round

With so many pressing needs on the roster, it's clear that most fans are not on board with the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting a quarterback in the first round of April's draft. The team did this almost three years ago when they took Kenny Pickett (ironically with the 20th pick, which is the same selection they hold this year).

Everyone who watched the Steelers last year could see how dismal their cornerback play was opposite Joey Porter Jr., while Mason Cole and Dan Moore Jr. were frequently humiliated on the offensive line.

It just so happens that this is an excellent draft class when it comes to offensive tackles, and there are a few center prospects -- like Jackson Powers-Johnson and Graham Barton -- who would be an instant upgrade at the position from Day 1. Likewise, there could be a flood of cornerbacks going in the middle-to-late first round, and Pittsburgh could find a big upgrade here as well.

Even knowing all of this, it's hard to pretend that quarterback isn't also a big need. In fact, based on the value of the position, one could make the case that it's the biggest need of all for a team that simply couldn't put points on the board the past two seasons.

Admittedly, Bo Nix leaves a sour taste in the mouths of many football fans. We have watched him play college football for five seasons, and his tape was extremely underwhelming in his first three years at Auburn. Because of his college career path, many have compared him to Kenny Pickett and there would be plenty of Steelers fans rioting if he was the selection (just check out their reactions on social media).

This is hardly a fair comparison. While Pickett and Nix possess similar frames and were both old prospects coming into the NFL, Nix has noticeably more arm talent, takes excellent care of the football, and had a more impressive season in 2023 than Pickett had in his college career.

I'm not advocating that the Steelers take Nix with the 20th overall pick, but I wouldn't be as opposed to this selection as Pittsburgh's fanbase seems to be on social media. Omar Khan needs to keep taking shots at the quarterback position until he finds the next franchise signal-caller for this team.