The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to stay in the playoff race all season long and snuck into the dance during the final week of the regular season after taking down the Ravens, seeing the Colts lose to the Jaguars, and the Raiders knock off the Chargers.
Their reward was playing a red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.
Pittsburgh fell to Kansas City in what was ultimately Ben Roethlisberger‘s final game. He retired a few days later, which means the Steelers will have a new starting quarterback for the first time in 18 years.
The Steelers went out and signed Mitch Trubisky to be their bridge quarterback, brought in some offensive line help, and added Myles Jack to help fill out the defense.
Steelers NFL Draft Picks 2022
- Round 1, Pick 20 (20th Overall): Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
- Round 2, Pick 20 (52nd Overall): George Pickens, WR, Georgia
- Round 3, Pick 20 (84th Overall): DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
- Round 4, Pick 33 (138th Overall): Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
- Round 6, Pick 30 (208th Overall): Connor Heyward, TE, Michigan State
- Round 7, Pick 4 (225th Overall): Mark Robinson, LB, Ole Miss
- Round 7, Pick 20 (241st Overall): Chris Oladokun, QB, South Dakota State
During the pre-draft process, many had pegged Pittsburgh as a potential team to move up and draft their favorite of their year’s quarterback class, which many prognosticated was Liberty’s Malik Willis.
In the end, it turned out that the Steelers were happy to stay at home and use the No. 20 pick on the local product, Kenny Pickett. While we heard a lot about his small hands at the NFL Scouting Combine, Pickett was plenty productive at Pitt and has the tools to be this team’s starting quarterback of the future — if not the present.
This draft class will ultimately be graded on Pickett’s success at the next level. If he becomes the long-term successor to Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh will be thrilled they got him at No. 20. If he doesn’t pan out, it’s a bit of a bust.
Beyond Pickett, wide receivers George Pickens and Calvin Austin III will look help fill the roles vacated by Juju Smith-Schuster and James Washington, while Connor Heyward will link up with his brother, All-Pro DT Cam Heyward, as the fourth set of brothers on Pittsburgh’s roster.
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Note: The Steelers NFL Draft predictions below were published before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pre-Draft Steelers NFL Mock Draft Predictions 2022
- TRADE: Round 1, Pick 10 (10th Overall, via NYJ): Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
- Round 2, Pick 20 (52nd Overall): Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
- Round 3, Pick 20 (84th Overall): Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
More Possible Steelers Draft Targets: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh; Nick Cross, S, Maryland; Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson; Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan; Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
The Steelers desperately need to address the quarterback position, and I expect them to be aggressive in doing so. Moving up in the first round makes a lot of sense.
Pre-Draft Steelers Team Needs 2022
Despite the Steelers signing Trubisky, they still need to find their franchise quarterback. They seem to be quite fond of Liberty product Malik Willis and sent the whole house down to watch him at his Pro Day.
Pittsburgh’s franchise quarterback isn’t on the roster right now, but the front office seems determined to change that in this year’s draft.
2. Wide Receiver
If Pittsburgh already had its franchise quarterback, a need for another wide receiver or two would top this list. JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud won’t be on the team next season. All three left via free agency.
That means Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson are the only two threats at the position as of right now. Yes, they did sign Miles Boykin, but he’s probably a WR4 at best. It’s a good low-risk move, but it’s not going to change Pittsburgh’s outlook at WR heading into the draft.
Look for the Steelers to address this need, especially given their history of success at drafting the position.
3. Defensive Tackle
I could go in several different directions here, but the Steelers need an impact player at this position if Stephon Tuitt doesn’t return. Tuitt missed the entire 2021 season, but the Steelers are hoping he’s able to come back.
We also don’t know how Tyson Alualu will fare. The 34-year-old is coming off a fractured ankle.
Steelers May Also Consider Drafting: Safety, Cornerback, Offensive Line, Running Back