Steelers Urged to Draft QB, Despite Addition of Mitch Trubisky

Mitch Trubisky

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Mitch Trubisky of the Chicago Bears looks on prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 3, 2019.

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a sizeable splash during the first week of the 2022 free agent signing period, headlined by the addition of free agent quarterback Mitch Trubisky, a former No. 2 overall pick.

But that doesn’t mean the Steelers should pass on selecting a quarterback in the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft, at least not in the eyes of Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus. In his March 18 column addressing the “Draft fits for each team’s biggest needs after (the) first wave of free agency,” he urges Pittsburgh to use its first-round pick on a quarterback, arguing that “Mitch Trubisky might suffice for now, but he isn’t the long-term option.”

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Renner insinuates that the Steelers might have to trade up to get a prospect they like, noting that “At pick No. 20, the Steelers could be left out in the cold come draft day … as multiple quarterback needy teams will be picking in front of them.”

Why the Steelers Are Unlikely to Draft a QB This Year

The fact that there are a lot of quarterback-needy teams this year is one reason the Steelers are likely to pass on drafting a QB. Never mind the fact that there appear to be few high-quality options. That stands in sharp contrast to 2004, when the Steelers had only two QB-needy clubs ahead of them in the draft (the San Diego Chargers and New York Giants) and three very strong prospects in Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.

There’s also the fact that the Steelers now have three quarterbacks under contract for 2022: Trubisky; former Washington first-round pick Dwayne Haskins; and much-maligned former third-round pick Mason Rudolph, who was signed to a one-year extension in March 2021.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has said that the Steelers will have four quarterbacks on the roster by the time training camp rolls around, but the contract/salary cap situation suggests that the fourth-stringer will likely be a rookie undrafted free agent. Keep in mind that Ben Roethlisberger will count $10.34 million against the Steelers’ cap in 2022, thanks to the voidable years that were added to the new contract he signed in March 2021.

Malik Willis or Sam Howell, Perhaps?

However, if the Steelers do pursue one of 2022’s top rookie quarterbacks, the leading contender is Liberty’s Malik Willis, who has drawn comparisons to former Steelers quarterback/wide receiver/running back Kordell Stewart. Pittsburgh’s interest in Willis has been described as a “badly kept secret.”

Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Sam Howell has been described as a “best fit” for the Steelers—and could conceivably still be available in the second round.

That said, the most likely scenario is that Mitchell Trubisky is the Steelers’ starter come the 2022 season-opener.

But if the Steelers end up selecting a QB in the forthcoming draft, they would likely attempt to trade veteran backup Mason Rudolph, who is slated to earn a $3 million salary in 2022, as per Alternatively, they could try to move Haskins, who will earn $2.54 million as a restricted free agent. Neither Rudolph nor Haskins is signed beyond 2022.

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