Welcome to the Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board Series! Over the next four days, I’ll be creating big boards for each round of the NFL Draft the Steelers have a pick in. I’ll then discuss these players, among other draft notes, on my podcast. You can find the Simon Shortt Podcast on Apple and Spotify. With that, let’s get to the Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board!
It’s a wide open year when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first round selection. Here on the Pittsburgh Steelers Big Board, we’ll have ten names of NFL Prospects, and hope to have Pittsburgh’s pick listed among them.
Everyone knows about Pittsburgh’s interest in a quarterback this year. So much so, that General Manager Kevin Colbert and/or Head Coach Mike Tomlin were at all five of the top QB prospect’s Pro Days. They also held numerous meetings with these players at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and pre-draft visits in Pittsburgh.
The only tough thing is because of all the due diligence Pittsburgh is doing, it’s hard to tell if there’s any of these quarterbacks they don’t like. For all we know, they could have all five on their board at 20. Or they could only like one, and just met with all the other guys so they had points of reference and good notes to compare to. Unfortunately the only way we’ll know if they only have one guy they like is if one player is taken before 20, and they pass on a QB.
With that said, I believe all five are on the board at least for discussion. Those five are below, and in no particular order.
- 1. Malik Willis QB, Liberty – a QB with all of the traits, but missing the experience of reading a defense. Major project who will need to sit a year but has the most upside of the class at the position
- 2. Desmond Ridder QB, Cincinatti – the best blend of traits, and pro-style experience. A winning player at Cincinnati but is missing dynamic plays on his tape and the pinpoint accuracy teams value in QB prospects
- 3. Kenny Pickett QB, Pitt– a standout player as a fifth year senior, Pickett is ready to play right away. Most pro-style experience next to Ridder, outstanding situational football, but lacks the traits to make big plays consistently
- 4. Matt Corral QB, Ole Miss – played the most RPO heavy offense of the bunch, which makes it hard to predict what he’ll be in the NFL. But has proven to have a good arm and great scrambling ability, but how will he react to having to make tougher reads against better defenses with better athletes?
- 5. Sam Howell QB, North Carolina –perhaps the QB who had the highest stock coming into the 21-22 season, Howell’s production dipped after he lost his NFL caliber skill players. He does still have perhaps the best arm talent of the bunch, and good scrambling ability to boot. He also played in a heavy RPO system however, so his ability to stay in the pocket and read defenses will be key.
Now what happens if they don’t take a quarterback? Whether it’s because the one or two they like are off the board, or otherwise, there’s sure to be a few other names on their list for their first round pick.
In addition to the above schools, Colbert and Tomlin also attended the Clemson, Michigan, Alabama Georgia and LSU Pro Days. Colbert also attended Notre Dame and N.C. State while Tomlin was at the NFL Owners Meetings. But the first round picks from those schools are Safety Kyle Hamilton and Offensive Lineman Ikem Ekwonu. Both expected to be top-10 picks. But if the rumors of Hamilton’s slipping is true, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the pick.
6. Andrew Booth Jr. CB, Clemson – a big, physical and athletic corner with top level ball skills. Could break the Steelers curse of picking cornerbacks early
7. Daxton Hill S, Michigan – a versatile DB who can play both safety spots as well as a nickel corner. Has the athleticism and skill to play well in coverage or as a deep safety, and the tackling and physicality to play in the box
8. Lewis Cine S, Georgia – an extremely physical and athletic safety. Would translate well to Pittsburgh’s scheme as a run defender in the box. Might provide more than Terrell Edmunds in coverage as well
9. Devonte Wyatt DT, Georgia – the other first round defensive lineman from Georgia. Wyatt has a different skillset than that of Jordan Davis. More of a quick twitch athlete, Wyatt shows more pass rush potential, while also being a strong run defender. Defensive line could be a target, if Pittsburgh knows Stephon Tuitt will not play this year.
10. George Pickens WR, Georgia – a big target and smooth athlete. Pickens is likely a top WR target considering Colbert, Tomlin and WR Coach Frisman Jackson were at his Pro Day and ran him though drills. With the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers having two late first round picks, Pickens could end up being a Day 1 selection
Notables Left Off
Below are names I left off from these schools because I think there’s no way they fall to 20. Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson. Alabama’s Evan Neal and Jameson Williams. Georgia’s Jordan Davis and Travon Walker. LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. And Cincinatti’s Ahmad Gardner. The last cut I made was the Georgia Linebacker Nakobe Dean. I like Dean as a player, but at 6’0 and 225 pounds he’s smaller than what Pittsburgh might look for.
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