Steelers Reportedly Eyeing 2022 QB Prospects
As Ben Roethlisberger plays out what is likely the final season of his Hall of Fame career, the Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly doing early homework in searching for a successor.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported on Saturday that Pittsburgh will be among the most aggressive teams exploring the 2022 draft class in pursuit of their next potential franchise quarterback.” La Canfora noted that the Steelers are “conducting extensive work on the top arms available.”
On Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Roethlisberger “has told former teammates and some within the organization that he expects this to be his final season playing quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
The 39-year-old has regressed considerably since the second half of the 2020 season as injuries continue to mount. That said, he’s played at a decent enough level to keep his Steelers (6-5-1) in playoff contention.
Unlike the last two drafts, the 2022 class doesn’t have any quarterback prospects that are expected to go in the top 10.
Malik Willis (Liberty), Matt Coral (Ole Miss), Desmond Ritter (Cincinnati) and Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh) have been regarded as the top QB prospects available.
The Steelers will most likely pick outside of the top 10 in the draft, but they’ll be in a good position to take one of the top QB prospects if they so desire.
For now, Pittsburgh’s focus is on booking a playoff berth for the second consecutive season. At 6-5-1 and sitting just outside the playoff race, the Steelers’ Super Bowl odds are currently +15000 with five games to go.
Eagles On Verge Of Landing Colts’ 2022 First-Rounder
In February, the Philadelphia Eagles traded quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-rounder.
However, the 2022 pick will turn into a first rounder if Wentz either plays a minimum of 75 percent of the Colts’ offensive snaps, or if he plays at least 70 percent of the snaps and the team qualifies for the postseason. And at this point, it’s looking very promising for the Eagles.
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice has been keeping track of Wentz’s snap count. Through 13 games, Wentz has played 97.5 percent of the Colts’ offensive snaps, per Kempski.
And with Indianapolis in a tight playoff race, they have every incentive to continue playing Wentz the rest of the way. So at this point, it looks like the Eagles are going to hold a whopping three first-round picks. They also own Miami’s 2022 first-rounder selection after the Dolphins traded up to take Jaylen Waddle with the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft.
According to Tankathon, if the draft were held today, the Eagles would have the No. 12 (via Miami), No. 13 (their own) and No. 17 (via Indianapolis) selections.
Simply put, GM Howie Roseman will have plenty of assets at his disposal to rebuild the Eagles into a championship contender again.
Projecting The Top Five 2022 Picks
1.Detroit Lions: Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon)
The Lions have several positions of need, including quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. But this is a long-term rebuild for GM Brad Holmes, and the Lions simply have to take the most polished prospect available.
It’s virtually a coin flip between Thibodeaux and Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson right now. But the slight edge goes to Thibodeaux, who would perfectly fit the system and style of head coach Dan Campbell.
- Houston Texans: Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan)
Plans can always change, and a trade for this pick is always possible. But for now, the likely outcome is that the holder of the No. 2 selection (in this exercise, the Texans) will happily choose who’s available between Thibodeaux and Hutchinson.
Like the Lions, Houston has roster flaws all over the place, and they’ll need to find a new starting quarterback for 2022. But they simply can’t pass on a talent like Hutchinson, who would instantly change the dynamic of a defense that’s been near the very bottom of the NFL for a few years now.
- New York Jets: Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame)
The Jets addressed the offense last year with the selections of Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Michael Carter. Now it’s time to rebuild a defense — especially the secondary — that ranks near the bottom in most major categories.
The versatile Hamilton, listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, is the type of game-wrecker Robert Saleh’s defense needs. With great size, speed and athleticism, Hamilton would be a force all over the field.
If the Jets don’t retain star safety Marcus Maye, a pending free agent, taking Hamilton here should be an even easier call.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Evan Neal (Alabama)
If Neal is available for the Jaguars, they simply can’t overthink this one.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is taking a concerning amount of hits and sacks, and the Jaguars know they have to project the new franchise player. Neal is far and away the best offensive linemen in this class.
- New York Giants (From Chicago Bears): Tyler Linderbaum (Iowa)
The Giants had the right idea when they drafted Alabama offensive tackle Andrew Thomas fourth overall in 2020.
But the o-line remains a mess, and reinforcements are required regardless of who the starting QB is next year.
In a draft class that greatly lacks “sure-things”, Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum feels like one of the safer picks any team can make. And the Giants especially have a need at center. They can address other needs with their own 2022 first-round pick later on.