For the first time in 17 seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers will begin an NFL season without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Former 2017 first-round pick Mitch Trubisky signed a two-year deal in free agency to presumably take over as the Steelers’ starter, and his addition all but erased any suggestion that Pittsburgh would be in the market for a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
Not so fast. According to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh can’t be eliminated from the first-round quarterback discussion.
“We’ve been at top quarterback pro days for the first time in a long time because we may be in a position where we have (a need). Does that mean we’re taking one? Possibly,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told reporters over the weekend.
Those top quarterbacks include Kenny Pickett, who starred in the Steelers’ backyard at Pitt, Malik Willis, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, and Sam Howell.
Pittsburgh currently owns the 20th overall pick and, until recently it looked like a sweet spot for this year’s quarterback prospects to start coming off the board. But recent mock drafts have Willis as high as the second overall pick to the Detroit Lions. If he goes that high, it could start a domino effect on the rest of the position. An early run on quarterbacks could force the Steelers to trade up if they have their sights set on one.
I don’t see that scenario playing out, however. It isn’t on-brand for the Steelers. Plus, Trubisky isn’t much different from the quarterbacks in this year’s class. He has his warts, but so do all of this year’s potential first-rounders.
Instead, the Steelers should let the quarterback market come to them. Don’t mortgage any future assets for any of this year’s prospects. If a player like Pickett slides to No. 20? It’s a no-brainer. Otherwise, it’ll feel like a reach if Pittsburgh gets overly aggressive.