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2022 NFL Draft

ESPN’s Todd McShay: QB Won’t Be Taken Before the Steelers Pick

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Malik Willis

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have their choice of quarterbacks with their pick if what Todd McShay is hearing turns out to be true. This comes just after Pro Football Network insider and NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline said that the Steelers are a “sure bet” to draft a quarterback in the first round.

“As it stands right now, my sources don’t believe there is a team in the top 19 picks that will be drafting a QB.,” wrote McShay. “There’s always a shock on draft night, and teams always look to trade up for a signal-caller, but the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 20 is the first spot I’m hearing serious QB consideration. Word is that the Steelers like Liberty’s Willis, so the question for Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin: Can they pull a Bill Belichick and just hold tight for their guy? (New England stayed put at No. 15 last April and landed Mac Jones.)”

McShay mentioned that teams always look to trade up for a signal-caller and that is something that experts have been thinking that the Steelers might end up doing in recent weeks. However with so much uncertainty surrounding the 2022 quarterback class, it’s just as possible for McShay’s scenario to come true.

The narrative McShay presents around Willis being Tomlin’s favorite quarterback in this year’s class isn’t anything new. Willis being Tomlin’s favorite has been the consensus since the draft process started months ago. The only question has been whether or not he will be available at the No. 20 pick or if the Steelers have to trade up to select him. The thinking around Willis is that he’s the most physically talented quarterback in the draft, but is not as pro-ready as Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. Therefore teams who also need quarterbacks, but draft before the Steelers like the Carolina Panthers at No. 6 could prefer either one.

McShay has the Panthers selecting an offensive tackle and says that “All signs are pointing toward the Panthers going with an offensive tackle at No. 6. Quarterback is a long shot here, save for a trade down the board (which would be something to watch for, considering Carolina doesn’t have a second- or third-round pick).” He also writes off the Detroit Lions considering Willis with the No. 2 pick and and the Atlanta Falcons going with a wide receiver with the No. 9 pick.

The only other team McShay thinks will strongly consider a quarterback is the Tennessee Titans. “Another team that popped up in my conversations about quarterbacks was the Tennessee Titans,” wrote McShay, “who pick at No. 26. They were the AFC’s top team last season at 12-5, and there are bigger roster needs, including wide receiver. But Ryan Tannehill will turn 34 this summer, and Tennessee could drastically reduce its salary at that position if it drafts a QB this year, sits him in 2022 and then parts ways with Tannehill in 2023.”

He does think the Lions will take Pickett with the No. 32 pick if he were to fall there, but McShay also doesn’t think that Pickett falls to No. 32. Considering the context clues of what he reported, it looks like he expects Pickett to be the only other quarterback taken and with the No. 26 pick by the Titans.

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