Now that the dust has settled on a wild free agency period, we have a better handle on Pittsburgh’s needs heading into the draft. We also have the combine, and the early Pro-Day visits to guide us on our Steelers mock draft 3.0. Let’s get right to it:
Round 1: Desmond Ridder QB, Cincinnati
It seems abundantly clear the Pittsburgh Steelers intend to take a quarterback in this draft. They have been all over the Pro-Days of Ridder,Willis, Pickett, and Corral already this off-season. While it appears Malik Willis may be their favorite, the cost of moving up to get him may be far too steep.
Desmond Ridder may actually be the best athlete in this draft at quarterback. His work at the combine certainly backs that up. https://www.mockdraftable.com/player/desmond-ridder
On the field, all Desmond Ridder did was win. He led the Bearcats to their first ever college football playoff appearance in 2021. Ridder guided his team to a 13-1 record this season, and 44-7 overall in his career at Cincinnati. While other quarterbacks like Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett have garner most of the attention, Desmond Ridder could be the steal of the 2022 draft. The best part is he will require zero assets to acquire as he is almost a lock to be there at pick 20.
Round 2: George Pickens WR, Georgia:
We tried hard to come up with a unique pick here who no one had thought of yet, but George Pickens just fits too well in Pittsburgh. He is exactly the type of elite athlete the Steelers covet at wide receiver. Pickens had an RAS score of 9.33, ranking him eighth overall at wide receiver. Factor in the contingent that the Steelers sent to the Georgia Pro-Day, the need at the position, and its a pretty good bet Pickens is the choice in round two.
Round 3: Myjai Sanders EDGE: Cincinnati
One of the biggest Steelers needs they have not addressed in free agency is depth at the edge position. Pittsburgh sent eight representatives to the Cincinnati Pro-Day, so coming away with two Bearcats should not be surprising. Sanders has the perfect body type for a Steelers outside linebacker. He’s a little lite at only 228 pounds, but can easily put on weight with his 6’5” frame. He had 10.5 and 7.5 sacks respectively in his final two seasons at Cincinnati.
Round 4: Matt Henningsen DT, Wisconsin
We all know the success the Steelers have had drafting defensive players from Wisconsin in the past. They once again go there to bolster their aging defensive line group. Stephon Tuitt may be back, but the defensive line could still be a weakness in 2022
Henningsen had a terrific combine where he put together the fifth best RAS score at defensive tackle with a 9.3. At only 295 lbs he’s a little smaller than the Steelers generally like. He is a plus athlete at the position however, and had a productive career at the University of Wisconsin.
Round 6: Sterling Weatherford SS, Miami (OH)
It wouldn’t be a Pittsburgh Steelers draft without at least one MAC player in it. Weatherford is a big hitting safety who would immediately become an important special teams piece. At the same time he would provide depth at a very weak safety position on this team. At the time of writing this post, the Steelers have not yet signed anyone to fill their vacant strong safety spot. We do expect this to happen fairly soon. If not, safety will end up much higher in this draft.
Round 7a: Ty Chandler RB, North Carolina
Ideally we would like to see the Steelers come out of this draft with a viable backup to Najee Harris. Ty Chandler would make a nice compliment to Harris with his explosive speed. Chandler ran a 4.38/40 yard dash at the combine this year. Chandler also retuned kicks to the tune of a 23 yard average between Tennessee and North Carolina. This is a worthwhile choice for backup running back at this stage in the draft.
Round 7b: Isaiah Weston WR, Northern Iowa:
Northern Iowa has been producing some NFL talent recently. Here they have an extremely athletic reciever in Isaiah Weston. At 6’3”, Weston ran a 4.42/ 40 yard dash. All told, Isaiah Weston scored a nearly perfect 9.99 RAS score. We have said for some time we think the Steelers will double dip at receiver, Weston would make an excellent second choice. Steelers mock draft 2.0: The Pre-Combine edition