Bold Proposal Sees Steelers Trading up With Vikings to Nab QB

Malik Willis 2022 NFL Combine

Justin Casterline/Getty Images Malik Willis of the Liberty Flames throws during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 3, 2022.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers want the chance to select their quarterback of choice in the forthcoming draft, they are going to have to trade up to make it happen. At least that’s the conventional wisdom. It also explains why draft analyst Chad Reuter included a Steelers trade in his recent feature on “Six Round 1 trades that would make sense.”

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The No. 12 Overall Pick in Exchange for Two Firsts and a Third

Specifically, Reuter envisions a scenario in which Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert makes a deal with the Minnesota Vikings to acquire the No. 12 overall selection in the first round, which might or might not give Pittsburgh the opportunity to select Liberty’s Malik Willis, who Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is said to “really want.” Alternatively, the Steelers might prefer Kenny Pickett (Pitt Panthers), Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati), Matt Corral (Ole Miss) or Sam Howell (North Carolina), the first and last of whom are seen as “ideal scheme fits” for Matt Canada’s offense.

In exchange, Pittsburgh gives up the No. 20 overall pick in 2022, plus its first-round selection in 2023 and its third-round pick in 2023.

Reuter’s rationale is that the two-year contract signed by free agent acquisition Mitch Trubisky “does not scream ‘long-term starter,’” and leaves room for Colbert to spend a first-round pick on a quarterback.

There Are Several Quarterback Needy Teams Ahead of the Steelers

The challenge is that a handful of teams picking before the Steelers might fancy a quarterback, including several with multiple first-round picks. That includes the Philadelphia Eagles, who are scheduled to pick No. 15, No. 16 and No. 19, as well as the Houston Texans, who are slotted at No. 3 and No. 13. Then there’s the Washington Commanders at No. 11 and the New Orleans Saints at No. 18.

That’s a lot of teams to jump over — and a lot of future draft capital to invest — for the right to choose from a group of quarterbacks that is widely perceived to be decidedly subpar.

Of course, Minnesota doesn’t need a quarterback this year, having extended Kirk Cousins through the 2023 season, hence the potential appeal of trading down.

“Dropping down eight spots and grabbing future draft capital is a good way to re-shape the roster while installing new offensive and defensive schemes. GM Kwesi-Adofo Mensah will find good value at linebacker, receiver, cornerback or along the offensive line with the Steelers’ assigned pick,” concludes Reuter.

Regardless of what the Steelers do in the first round of the draft, they will be adding a fourth quarterback to the roster prior to training camp, this according to Colbert. Potential candidates include developmental QBs like South Dakota State’s Chris Oladokun and Hec Crighton Trophy winner Tre Ford, who played at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

If the fourth quarterback turns out to be a rookie undrafted free agent, that would be a signal that the Steelers want to give Trubisky an extended look-see in Pittsburgh, a sentiment recently endorsed by former Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who spent the 2021 season as a teammate of Trubisky’s in Buffalo. It’s easy to justify giving Trubisky a chance, considering he’s a former No. 2 overall pick who managed to win 29 of 50 starts in Chicago, as per Pro Football Reference.

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Raymond Jastrzab
Raymond Jastrzab
2 months ago


The Steelers need to stand pat…. if Pickett falls to them take Pickett. If not grab Dotson from Penn State to fill the void at wide receiver and give the quarterback, the impact player int he slot that the Steelers need. Then int he second round, look at either waiting or moving up to grab Howell who should still be there.

If Pickett isn’t there at 20… that is the plan. This isn’t the draft to give up anything to get a quarterback. Pickett is a good fit. Willis is not a good fit.. he has played against lesser opponents, and in a different scheme than what the Steelers are looking for… his “bug on a rug” running style isn’t what the Offense needs, and it will not transfer over into the pros as well as so many narrowminded pundits have projected.

The Steelers need a field general. I guy who can run an offense from the pocket, and still run as a secondary skill. Willis is not a pocket kind of guy, and he will take off before letting a play develop… which will not fly against the more seasoned and professional level of players he will face in the NFL. His college highlight reals don’t show him going against anybody who could be considered NFL caliber.

Grab picket with number 1. Unless he is gone.
If he is gone grab Dotson.
If you gab Dotson with 1, look for Howell with your second pick – or a solid defensive back (corner).
If you do get lucky enough to get Pickett at 1, then look a the best available defensive back or wide receiver at 2… that quarterback is going to need a playmaker and some help. Even if you fix the line in free agency, the QB still needs more help working downfield.
Without any threats… the defenses will just send pressure and force whoever is quarterbacking us to have to throw under extreme pressure.

That is the plan…

Not this running back at quarterback.

Good kid, just not what we need.

And Howell is a good strong potential “Darkhorse” who may end up being somebody’s superstar.
So… I’d see if we can grab him if Pickett is gone.

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