Mock Draft Predicts Steelers Will Trade Up for Rising Quarterback

pittsburgh steelers

Getty The Pittsburgh Steelers were predicted to trade up for J.J. McCarthy

The 2024 NFL offseason has started to get interesting for Pittsburgh Steelers over the past few days.

The day after the Super Bowl, they became the first team in the league to start making moves.

They released three former starters, including Mitch Trubisky, to clear cap space.

Since then, they’ve been heavily linked with the quarterbacks around the league that will be available this offseason.

They are now somehow the betting favorite to land both Justin Fields and Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins is “keeping an eye” on them.

Meanwhile, the possibility of them drafting a QB hasn’t been eliminated yet.

The Steelers were predicted to make a deal with the Indianapolis Colts to move up to pick 15 and select former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy in a mock draft released by FanDuel on February 13.


McCarthy’s Rising Draft Stock

McCarthy isn’t one of the quarterbacks that football fans have gotten to see play since the end of the college football season, but he has still seen his draft stock moving recently.

There seemed to previously at least be a chance that the Steelers could have the option to grab McCarthy with pick 20.

Now the Vikings are actually favored to take him with pick 11.

According to AtoZ Sports’ Destin Adams, there is even one NFC team that has him as the QB2 on their draft board.

The likely reason is that scouts and analysts have had the chance to take a more in-depth look at McCarthy as a prospect now that the NFL season is over.

Unlike his competition in this year’s quarterback class, McCarthy didn’t put up gaudy numbers during his college career.

However, some of his more advanced stats have shown that he threw the ball well on third and fourth down and on the move.

The advanced stats combined combined with his arm strength and ability to win at a high level have started to increase interest in McCarthy early in draft season.


The Steelers’ QB Situation

There are few teams in the NFL that have a quarterback situation as complicated as the Steelers’ right now.

They just spent a first round pick on a quarterback two years ago.

Unfortunately, that quarterback hasn’t been very good. However, they’ve still been able to win enough games with that QB that they aren’t in position to draft one with a better chance of being successful in the NFL.

They can’t afford to spend another late first on a QB with question marks. They could try to acquire a veteran, but there are only a few that would actually be upgrades and they come with a high price tag or question marks of their own.

So that leaves the Steelers in a position where they probably know that the team will only take the next step if they start getting the quarterback position right again, but without a clear answer for how to get quality from the position long term.

Cousins looks like their best answer for 2024, but he could also start to decline soon, putting them right back in the same situation unless Kenny Pickett develops on the bench.

If the Steelers see a QB prospect in this year’s draft that they are absolutely sure of then it could be a good idea for them to make sure they get their guy, but they can’t afford to be wrong again.

Maybe McCarthy could be that guy for the Steelers, but they’d have to be certain to make a move up for him.

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