Steelers Projected to Find ‘Some Razzle Dazzle’ With ‘Surprise’ QB Addition

Mike Tomlin Bo Nix

Getty ESPN's Field Yates predicted head coach Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers to select Oregon quarterback Bo Nix at No. 20 overall in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.

The Pittsburgh Steelers remained patient and saw quarterback Kenny Pickett fall to them at No. 20 overall in the 2022 draft. ESPN’s Field Yates sees the same thing happening again with Bo Nix in 2024.

In his latest mock draft on February 14, Yates predicted the Steelers to select Nix at No. 20 overall.

“This one might be a surprise, as the Steelers have backed Kenny Pickett — who they took at No. 20 two years ago — this offseason. But they also said they plan to add competition for him in the quarterback room,” wrote Yates.

“Nix blends sharp accuracy with some razzle dazzle (something he has refined during his college career after transferring from Auburn) and an ability to quickly scan the field to deliver the right read.”

With a 77.4% completion percentage in 2023, Nix set a new FBS record for accuracy during a college season. He also threw for 4,508 yards with 45 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

How Bo Nix Compares to Kenny Pickett

One could argue about whether the Steelers should entertain the possibility of drafting another signal caller at No. 20 so soon. Pittsburgh’s last quarterback selected at No. 20, Pickett, hasn’t worked out yet. That’s why the team is in the quarterback market again this offseason.

But some draft analysts, including Yates, are high on Nix. Yates argued that at the very least, he will provide more upside than Pickett.

“Quarterback picks in this range are often polarizing, but my fundamental mindset is the Steelers’ ceiling with Pickett under center is too low for a franchise whose standard is not simply making the playoffs but making deep runs,” Yates wrote. “Pittsburgh has lost five straight playoff games now.”

Nix will turn 24 before the 2024 NFL draft, which is the same age Pickett was in his first NFL training camp.

That’s on the older side for a first-round quarterback. Again, maybe the Steelers would prefer a quarterback prospect with more differences from Pickett.

But Nix had a lot of college experience, which the Steelers valued two years ago. Nix played five college seasons at two different schools.

In five years, Nix posted 15,352 passing yards with 113 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He averaged 7.9 yards per attempt.

Nix clearly improved as his college career went. He averaged 6.7 yards per pass in his first season at Auburn. Last year, he recorded 9.6 yards per attempt.

In 25 NFL starts, Pickett has averaged 6.3 yards per attempt. That average dropped during his second season.

Pickett has registered 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with 4,474 passing yards as well.

Steelers Drafting a QB in the First Round?

The quarterback rumors have been flying rampantly around Pittsburgh since the Super Bowl.

While appearing on The Pat McAfee Show on February 12, ESPN’s Adam Schefter insinuated the Steelers could trade for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields this offseason because head coach Mike Tomlin is “a big fan” of Fields.

On February 13, CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson predicted the Steelers to target Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 20 overall.

Those stories followed the NFL Network’s insiders reporting on February 11 that quarterback Mason Rudolph “has indicated” that he wants a fresh start and intends to leave the Steelers. Then on February 12, the Steelers released fellow quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Tomlin and Steelers president Art Rooney II stressed early this offseason that the team desires to bring in quarterback competition for Pickett.

For financial reasons, trading for Fields wouldn’t be bringing in competition. However, drafting Nix in the first round would unmistakably give Pickett significant competition for 2024.

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